What we’re seeing is an incredible influx of global talent that have honed their craft or built their experience in competitive global markets
Karla Briones, a business consultant in Ottawa, has become not only a friend but a mentor to the Business Immigrant Essentials program and a key voice in the immpreneur (immigrant entrepreneur) space in Canada. Recently she wrote a piece that drove home our renewed commitment in 2020 to grow our portfolio of successful newcomer-led businesses in Greater Saint John.
“As many of us most likely already know, being an entrepreneur definitely has its challenges. While one week our business could be doing really well and turning a profit, everything could be completely different the month after. Seeing as it is full of highs and lows, this lifestyle is not for everyone. If you add all of this to the original challenges we face as immigrants, the total amount of stress can be unimaginable – yet, we still do it, and we still conquer. We are risk-takers by nature and oftentimes entrepreneurship is our way of creating our own employment when our attempts to gain jobs in our original fields fail due to lack of “Canadian credentials.”’
What we’re seeing is an incredible influx of global talent that have honed their craft or built their experience in competitive markets where there is often significant red tape. Yes, we have a welcoming environment and organizations like ours ready to step in and provide on the ground support, but we also need to make clear investment opportunities known and facilitate the translation of international experience to our domestic markets.
I recently happened on a Visual Capitalist infographic that lays out the best and worst places to do business globally based on red-tape and regulatory hurdles. Taken into consideration are things like access to credit and capital, enforcing contracts, paying taxes and labour market regulations.
Let’s look at two nations that rank at opposite ends of the ease of doing business spectrum, Nigeria and South Korea: both of which that are trending right now in our portfolio of entrepreneurs.
Nigeria is only 45 spots from the bottom of the list. It’s not easy to do business in Nigeria: red-tape, regulatory hurdles, intense competition in a large population, a crowded market of hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs competing for air and institutional corruption in many cases. And yet, our Nigerian clients are some of the most passionate, hard-working and intelligent entrepreneurs we’ve served. Our region is truly lucky that our stars aligned and now we have the opportunity to unleash the potential that they felt they could not achieve in their home markets. It’s up to us to draw the blueprint and communicate it clearly.
South Korea, on the other hand, is 5th from the top in supporting new businesses. Business is booming in South Korea and many of the problems that our Nigerian entrepreneurs faced are not a part of the everyday experience of a would-be business owner in Seoul or Busan. Our newcomer founders from South Korea have been pushed and pulled by different factors that are just as valid as any. In my experience, our South Korean founders are a small piece of what is a very talented and hard-working culture. We’ve seen it in the Business Immigrant Essentials time and time again and we have so much to learn from our clients who hail from one of the most prosperous nations in the world.
Global talent from all corners of the globe descend upon Canada in this moment and it is up to us to recognize the opportunity, address the problems, lay the blueprints and remember that the first step on this journey is to honor the incredible experiences they bring.