Building a startup might not be the easiest thing, let alone choosing where to do it. It’s a rollercoaster ride, and you need to stay strapped in from the beginning till the end. If not? Well, the outcome doesn’t exactly yield positive results. Starting a startup may make one think of a lot of things, but where to set it up has to be the million-dollar question. You might need to ponder over this for a while, but our take would have to be — Canada? The startup tide seems to be taking everyone to Canada, so should you be hopping on the bandwagon too? Or are you having second thoughts about it? Well, put on your thinking caps because we’ve got this all figured out as to why Canada might just be the best fit for your startup?
Industry heavyweights are choosing to withdraw their investments from the OGs like Silicon Valley and plunge headfirst into Canada’s IT industry. This is because Canada has a mixture of various nationalities coming together to make a living. Thanks to the Canadian student visa, a pool of young talent is rushing in, and this couldn’t get any better for the Canadian economy? Not to mention, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which is also a program that allows express entry. This program sought to bring skilled workers into the country who fall under Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC)’s TEER categories. The TEER categories range from 0 to 4 where each TEER involves certain skills that Canada is looking for. TEER 0 focuses on management occupations like advertising, marketing, and public relations managers, financial managers, etc., while TEER 1 needs skilled workers who’ve obtained a university degree like financial advisors and software engineers.
Leading global heavyweights like Uber, Google, and Microsoft have also added fuel to the fire, by establishing bases in Canada, bringing in a huge influx of talent. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring have also enabled employers to ensure international talent, no matter what their background may be. While students strive to become permanent Canadian residents, stable jobs are in high demand. This means scouting for international talent has never been easier?
While the funding of startups is, in the beginning, solely focused on angel investors and venture capitalists, the Canadian government provides quite the breakthrough here. With various government grants and loans like the Innovation Assistance Program (IAP), Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund (EBD), Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), Accessible Innovation Program (ATP), Innovative Solutions Canada Program (ISCP), Entrepreneurship Incubator Program (EIP), and much more. The Canadian government is welcoming fresh, innovative companies with open arms as they expand job possibilities and raise living standards.
International startups are also given the upper hand here, thanks to Canada’s all-inclusive policies. While US startup policies include a 21-31% tax rate, Canada has a 15% tax rate, thanks to the Canadian government’s unwavering belief that with this onslaught of startups, Canada might just be the next Finland?
Being home to the world's largest tech hubs, Canada possesses everything you need for your startup. The technology is vast, making implementation easier. Universities and research centers are more than happy to provide the technology required to help your startup stay at the forefront. Canada’s ICT sector mainly consists of small companies, with an average of 10 people, and rakes in huge profits.
The unicorn-land Canada saw quite a few unicorns in the year 2022 with the most recent ones being Dapper labs, Wealthsimple, Blockstream, and Trulioo. With 1032 AI and machine learning companies, Canada allows the enhancement of the economy by being a homegrown tech industry. This might also be one of the reasons why Canada is home to everyone’s favourite programming language, Java?
Canada is also best known for serving both domestic and international markets, thus connecting your startup on a global level. Trade freedom, investor protection, and low corruption help ensure its stability in the world economy. While the recession is hitting most of North America terribly, Canada has proven to be quite stable in terms of its market. While Canada has focused on free trade, this has allowed the country to secure its spot as the 9th largest economy.
It's no secret that the Bank of Canada focuses on maintaining low and stable inflation, and some may call it "good luck," but considering how Canada has fared during economic crises and the pandemic, it can be said that policies to ensure diversity have helped keep the economy steady.
To foster a diverse startup ecosystem, Canada also has a startup visa program where immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative businesses can register for permanent residency (PR). In an effort to help grow the Canadian startup landscape, this program mainly targets out-of-the-box entrepreneurs and links them with private investors.
The eligibility of the program encompasses the following: a qualifying business, proficiency in the English or French language, proper and transferable funding, a commitment certificate, and a letter of support from a designated entity. With the SUV program, it's no surprise that Canada ranks among the top 20 places to launch a startup?
A popular way to gain funding for a startup is through angel investing. Since the Canadian government encourages angel investing by providing tax credits for angel investors, angel investors flock to Canada for higher stakes. The major angel investors in the country have to be Angels of Many, CapitalAngel Network, BrainStormers Group Ltd., Xaphan Group, and Blockchain Tech Ltd. More than just bringing money to the table, these investors are experienced, providing you with just the hand you need on your startup journey.
The best Canadian cities to take your vision to the next level are hands down: Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver? Toronto not only ranks first thanks to its vast diversity but also because of its low R&D costs when compared to other major hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. It’s also the largest city and is home to more than 4,100 active tech startups.
Oil plays a huge role in Canada, and Edmonton is best known for its energy sector. From biotechnology to digital media, you name it—Edmonton’s your guy? There are also quite a few startup incubators like Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton to help your early-stage startup.
Calgary is notable for its warm welcome given to businesses and entrepreneurs in the energy sector. They also have a couple of startup incubators, with the most prominent ones being Startup Calgary and Innovate Calgary, to help startups stand on their own two feet.
Worldwide, Vancouver is rated as the 15th-best city for tech startups. This is because there are already a huge number of visual effects and animation studios. In addition, major worldwide gaming franchises like Ubisoft, EA Games, Capcom Game Studio Vancouver, and Sony Computer Entertainment are all established in Vancouver, which doesn’t hurt its reputation as the biggest startup center in Canada either?
While many say demographics do not matter as long as your product can speak for itself, it isn’t a practical idea to go through with. Demographics have an impact on the culture of your product, the market, and sales. If global expansion is your target, then the cheapest and safest option for you would be Canada? Not to mention, if your startup is focused on the ICT sector, Canada has managed IT service pricing as well. The skilled workforce, government support, R&D, and diversity of Canada only enhance its reputation. Looking to plant the seed of your startup somewhere fruitful? Canada might just be the answer to your prayers!