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I, human: Digital and soft skills in a new economy

Persons in all immigration categories and from a wide range of countries establish businesses in Canada. Through investments and business formation, immigrants have become a major source of job creation in this country, and they have higher levels of self-employment than their Canadian-born counterparts. Yet starting a business is challenging, and failure rates are high, both for immigrants and the Canadian-born. As this country increasingly relies on immigration for labour force and population growth, and as almost all new jobs are created by small businesses, it is important to learn more about immigrant businesses and how to help them thrive. To this end, the Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurship project (œWise5 for short) built on a partnership of local Workforce Planning Boards in five communities: Hamilton, London, Niagara Region, Windsor, and Waterloo Region including Guelph. To learn about experiences of immigrants in business, we interviewed more than 100 individuals in these communities, including immigrant entrepreneurs, service providers and other persons with knowledge of immigration and business. This report builds on findings from these interviews, from relevant articles and reports, and from primary research into services and supports to identify key business supports and business start-up trajectories that have met with success. It contains recommendations for communities for supporting immigrant businesses and identifies best practices that can be adopted in other regions.