Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Quebec: An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that Catalyzes or Inhibits? Report Highlights

Entrepreneurship among immigrants is a major asset for Quebec’s economy, given the high rate of entrepreneurial intention among immigrants compared to native-born Canadians. This is even more evident in North America as a whole, where immigrants play a key role in the creation of businesses, jobs, and wealth. However, despite their desire to start a business, many immigrant entrepreneurs do not succeed in realizing their projects. Our analysis shows that immigrant entrepreneurs outnumber native-born entrepreneurs at the stage of entrepreneurial intention and at other stages of the entrepreneurial process, regardless of gender. However, they encounter difficulties at the business creation stage and in survival of the business. Yet, immigrants tend to make the transition from intention to action more quickly, even within the context of a pandemic. These findings indicate that immigrant entrepreneurs represent a powerful but underutilized lever for the country’s economic growth.

An examination of the entrepreneurial pool of immigrant entrepreneurship shows that it is largely made up of young people. More than half of immigrants aged 18 to 34 have entrepreneurial intentions. Most are university students or young graduates familiar with the Quebec business market who potentially benefit from a longer entrepreneurial trajectory. Despite this much greater advantage among young immigrants as compared with their native-born counterparts, the trend is reversed when it comes to actually opening a business, resulting in a very low rate of business ownership among young immigrants.

Becoming an entrepreneur is not without obstacles. Starting or taking over a business may seem easier for some than for others. Our results show that immigrants are more motivated than native-born counterparts to become entrepreneurs and show a significant interest in starting a business. Immigrants and native-born Canadians have similar perceptions of entrepreneurship in terms of their commitment to the community and their role in the prosperity and economic development of their region. However, immigrant entrepreneurship is predominantly concentrated in certain sectors, such as retail trade, accommodation, and food services. Our results indicate that immigrant entrepreneurs participate in the development of the country at the regional, provincial, and international levels. It is therefore relevant to explore the obstacles that immigrants encounter during the entrepreneurial process in order to support their contributions to Quebec society.

How to Cite

Cisneros, L., Saba, T., Danthine, E., Chouchane, R., Registre, J.F.R., Cachat-Rosset, G., Guiliani, F., Leiva, F.B., & Marchand, R. (2021). Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Quebec: An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that Catalyzes or Inhibits? Report Highlights. Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, La base entrepreneuriale HEC Montréal, L’Institut d’entrepreneuriat Banque Nationale ⎜HEC Montréal, Réseau Mentorat, BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance.

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