In March, the Province launched a new version of the Provincial Nominee Program, the Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot, to entice immigrant entrepreneurs to rural areas. This program is focused on attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities. This will help meet the communities’ economic development needs and encourage investments outside urban areas. The province acknowledges that each community has the best knowledge of their local business environment, they are perfectly situated to identify economic development priorities and support services that give foreign entrepreneurs a good start in their journey to building successful businesses and growing the local economy.
There are four key features of the program which have been designed specifically to ensure its success. These features allow a community to work on its own economic development priorities, and provide an adaptable structure to work from. These features include:
- Active community role – participating communities will have a key role in the pilot. They will be actively involved in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to their community and working with local partners and existing networks to provide support for entrepreneurs settling into their communities.
- Referral from the community – participating communities will refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP whose business concept align with the community’s economic priorities. The foreign entrepreneur must have visited the community and present their concept to the community’s designated contact person prior to receiving a referral.
- Community concierge – regional communities can contact the BC PNP to access a dedicated concierge service that supports communities with their immigration needs.
- Invitations & prioritization – foreign entrepreneurs referred by a participating community are placed in a separate registration pool dedicated to the pilot. Registrations and applications are prioritized.
Trail and Rossland are now pilot communities for this program! Each community first identifies its priority industry sectors for entrepreneurs to invest in which helps in narrowing down the number of applicants to the ones who are best suited. Then the applicants who want to invest in these sectors are directed through our application where they demonstrate that they have met provincial criteria, and provide a business plan. The next step is a video conference for each applicant to select the best applicants for site visits.
The LCIC is excited to be part of this program and is looking forward to hosting entrepreneurs from all over the world later this year!
To learn more about our application process click here.