Prioritizing applications for Ukrainians

Temporary processing measures are now in place for the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) for Ukrainian nationals who apply to the program. Find out how the AAIP is responding to the crisis in Ukraine.

On November 16, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRRC) and all provincial nominee programs, including the AAIP, will be adopting the 2021 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. Full details on the NOC 2021 version are available on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website. Review IRCC’s Find your NOC tool to understand how your occupation may be impacted by this change. AAIP will post information on how NOC 2021 will affect our program in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 response

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) continues to accept and process applications and Expressions of Interest (EOIs), with temporary adjustments to some application and assessment processes.

Find out how the AAIP is responding to COVID-19.

Overview

The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is an economic immigration program that nominates talented and qualified foreign educated graduates from outside Canada for permanent residence upon launching start-up enterprises and innovative businesses in Alberta. The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is a collaboration between the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) and approved designated agencies.

Foreign graduates who are interested in applying under the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream must work with a designated agency. The designated agency will issue a letter of recommendation if it deems that the foreign graduate meets the AAIP requirements. The foreign graduate must submit the letter of recommendation with their Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP Portal.

The designated agency will review business plans based on the foreign graduate’s ability to demonstrate market need or demand, the potential for successful market entry in the short-term to medium-term, customer acquisition, business development, key partnerships and financial plans to fund the development and operation of the start-up. The designated agency will provide a written report on their assessment of the proposed business plan. Foreign graduates must submit this report with their Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Business Application.

Approved Designated Agencies

The role of the designated agency is to:

  • support the marketing of Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
  • determine the entrepreneurial readiness of a foreign graduate and the potential success of the start-up by reviewing the business idea and provide support on the development of a business plan
  • select foreign graduates to recommend for the AAIP
  • connect foreign graduates with the appropriate networks, and provide business counselling, coaching and guidance when launching their business in Alberta and while they are trying to achieve the requirements of the Business Performance Agreement

Foreign graduates who are interested in applying to the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream should contact the following approved designated agencies:

Empowered Startups
420-744 West Hastings
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6C 1A5
Phone: 604-229-1052
Fax: 604-229-2037
Email: [email protected]

Platform Calgary
429 8 Avenue SE
Calgary, Alberta
T2G 0L6
Phone: 403-284-6400
Email: [email protected]

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for this stream, candidates must meet the following criteria:

Table 1. Requirements for Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

Area Requirements
Work experience Minimum of 6 months full-time work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalent (equivalencies are work experience with business incubator or business accelerator).
Education Completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

This degree must:

  • have been completed within the last 10 years at the time of EOI submission, and
  • must be equivalent to a Canadian degree.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website lists the designated organizations for ECAs

Business plan A business plan with projected financials. Refer to the Business Plan Guidelines.
Pitch deck A 10-minute presentation (slides only) that outlines the proposed business venture and focuses on what an investor would want to see.
Language Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 5 for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Official test results must be less than two years old at the time of EOI submission. The AAIP only accepts the following language tests:

Check the IRCC website on CLB/NCLC equivalency for each of the tests.

Business establishment

Must have a minimum of 34% ownership if the business is located in an urban centre or a minimum of 51% ownership if located in regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas.

Business Partners must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Business must not be on the list of ineligible businesses.

Business investment A minimum level of investment from candidate’s (or spouse or common-law partner) own equity or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm prior to coming to Alberta. The mandatory minimum investment for an urban centre is $100,000 while the mandatory minimum investment for a regional area is $50,000. Higher levels of investment prior to coming to Alberta will be awarded more points. Points are awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both.
Letter of recommendation Must have a letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved designated agency.
Settlement funds Candidates must demonstrate that they have the funds needed to set up their business and support themselves while they are on a work permit and launching their start-up.

Minimum settlement funds requirements will be based on the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs).

Refer to Table 2 below.

The amount of settlement funds required in Table 2 is based on the number of family members (including yourself) and the population size of the community where you intend to establish your business. The amount stated in the chart are the funds needed for at least the next 6 months to settle and support yourself (and your family, if applicable) while establishing your business venture in Alberta.

Table 2. Settlement funds requirement for Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream in Canadian dollars

  Population size of community and funds required
Source: Statistics Canada
Number of family members Less than 1,000 1,000 to 30,000 30,000 to 99,999 100,000 to 499,999 500,000 and over
1 $8,922 $10,151 $11,093 $12,961 $12,960
2 $11,107 $12,636 $13,810 $16,135 $16,135
3 $13,655 $15,534 $16,977 $19,836 $19,836
4 $16,579 $18,861 $20,613 $24,084 $24,083
5 $18,803 $21,392 $23,379 $27,315 $27,315
6 $21,208 $24,127 $26,367 $30,807 $30,806
7 $23,611 $26,861 $29,356 $34,299 $34,299

AAIP self-assessment tool

Review the AAIP self-assessment tool to ensure you meet program eligibility requirements.

Selection from EOI pool

The AAIP is currently accepting EOIs under the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. The information provided will be assessed and points will be awarded based on the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream points grid below. Candidates with the highest-ranking points will be invited to submit a Business Application.

Information to be assessed include:

  • EOI
  • Business Plan
  • Pitch Deck
  • Net Worth Worksheet
  • Letter of Recommendation from a Designated Agency
  • and if applicable:
    • Authorization to Collect and Disclose Personal Information for Spouse, Common-Law Partners and Dependents

For more information on the application process, see How to Apply

Table 3. Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid

Human Capital
Criteria Description Points
Language Proficiency
  • (Maximum of 30 points)
  • Mandatory requirement
First official language
CLB 5 (5 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) (mandatory minimum) 10
CLB 6 (6 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) 15
CLB 7 (7 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) 20
CLB 8 or higher (8 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) 30
Education
  • Maximum of 35 points
  • Mandatory requirement
Minimum requirement is the completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada within the last 10 years with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Education credential must be equivalent to Canadian standards.

Bachelor’s degree or a 2-year Diploma (mandatory minimum) 5
Master’s degree 10
Doctoral degree 15
Preference given to candidates with the following degrees:
Completed a degree within the last 5 years at the time of EOI submission 10
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 5
Business 5
Business management, ownership or equivalent
  • Equivalencies are work experience with business incubator or business accelerator
  • Maximum of 35 bonus points
  • Mandatory requirement
Business ownership or management experience (more points allocated for additional years of experience)
6 months (mandatory minimum) 5
more than 6 months to less than 1 year 10
1 to 2 years 15
More than 2 years 20
Preference will be given to candidates with business ownership experience. 15
Business factors
Business Plan
  • Maximum of 40 points
  • Mandatory requirement
A business plan with projected financial information. Business plan guidelines are available on the AAIP website. 40
Investment: prior to coming to Alberta
  • Maximum 25 points
  • Mandatory requirement
Minimum level of investment from candidate’s own equity, and/or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm before coming to Alberta.

(Candidates with higher levels of investment available before coming to Alberta will be awarded more points. Points will also be awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both).

Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas

Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas

Urban centre:

$100,000 (mandatory minimum) 5
$100,001 to $150,000 11
$150,001 to $200,000 18
Over $200,000 25
Or, regional area:
$50,000 (mandatory minimum) 5
$50,001 to $100,000 11
$100,001 to $150,000 18
Over $150,000 25
Proposed investment: additional investment after launch
  • Maximum 20 points
  • Not a mandatory requirement
Additional investment after launching start-up from candidate’s own equity, or from recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm.

(Candidates with higher levels of investment after launch will be awarded more points. Points awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both.)

Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas

Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas

Urban centre:

$100,000 to $150,000 5
$150,001 to $200,000 10
$200,001 to $250,000 15
Over $250,000 20
Or, regional area:
$50,000 to $100,000 5
$100,001 to $150,000 11
$150,001 to $200,000 18
Over $200,000 25
Job creation
  • Maximum of 15 points
  • Not a mandatory requirement
Jobs must be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents (not including relatives) for a period of at least 6 months.
1 job 5
2 jobs 10
3 jobs or more 15
Total maximum points   200

Table 4. Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream mandatory minimums, pass or fail grid.

Criteria Description Pass or Fail
Ownership of start-up
  • Mandatory minimum
Must have a minimum of 34% ownership in an urban centre or a minimum of 51% ownership if the business is located in a regional community. Pass or Fail
Businesses in key or priority sectors
  • Mandatory minimum
Business plan or pitch deck must indicate business connected to one of the following sectors:
  • technology
  • aerospace
  • financial services
  • energy
  • agriculture
  • tourism
  • life sciences
  • pharmaceuticals
Pass or Fail
Settlement Funds
  • Mandatory minimum
Candidates must demonstrate they have funds to support themselves while they are on a work permit and launching their start-up in Alberta. Minimum settlement funds required will be based on the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs). Refer to the Settlement Fund section. Pass or Fail
Pitch Deck
  • Mandatory minimum
A 10-minute presentation (slides only) that describes the foreign graduate and their venture focused on what an investor would want to see. Pass or Fail
Letter of Recommendation
  • Mandatory minimum
The candidate must have a letter of recommendation from an AAIP approved designated agency. Pass or Fail

Selection and notification process

Once the AAIP receives your Business Application, it will be assessed against the eligibility criteria, and your EOI points will be verified. An AAIP officer may contact you for more information.

The AAIP does not guarantee that all complete Business Applications received will be assessed or that all candidates who meet the assessment criteria will be issued a nomination. Review the declaration for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Start-up Visa Stream available on the AAIP Portal and the AAIP Terms and Conditions for complete information.

Submission of a Business Application or nomination by the AAIP does not guarantee you will be issued a permanent resident visa.

Ineligibility

You are not eligible to apply under Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream if:

  • you have an active nomination, which has not expired and/or is eligible for extension under another AAIP stream – candidates are only eligible for one AAIP Nomination Certificate
  • you have been issued a letter on a previous AAIP application that stated you are not eligible to re-apply to the AAIP for a specified period of time – if you submit an application during the specified period, it will be declined
  • you have a removal order issued against you by IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency
  • you are a refugee claimant or an individual involved in a federal appeal or removal process – the AAIP does not intervene in the federal refugee claim, appeal or removal process
  • you are a foreign national living or working in Canada with no valid temporary resident status
  • your business is on the list of ineligible businesses listed below

Established businesses in Alberta

Foreign graduates who currently own and operate a business in Alberta can apply to the AAIP as a pathway for permanent residency. They must demonstrate they meet the criteria highlighted in the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid and Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream mandatory minimums grid at the time of EOI submission. The established business must have operated in Alberta for at least one year immediately prior to submitting an EOI in the AAIP portal.

EOI submissions will be scored based on the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid and Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream mandatory minimums grid and candidates with the highest-ranking points will be requested to submit a Business Application to the AAIP. Foreign graduates who have already owned and operated their business in Alberta will not be required to operate their business for an additional one year after applying to the AAIP.

Eligible foreign graduates will be issued a nomination certificate after submitting their Business Application to the AAIP and must continue to operate their business in Alberta while they go through the permanent residence application process with IRCC.

Read After you are nominated for more information on next steps.

Business eligibility

Eligible businesses:

It is your responsibility to ensure your proposed business meets the criteria for eligible businesses. If it is not an eligible business or does not clearly demonstrate a significant economic benefit to Alberta, your Business Application may be declined.

The proposed business must have the potential for creating economic benefit to Alberta, in the opinion of and as determined by the AAIP. A proposed business must align with the following requirements to be eligible under the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream:

  • The purpose of the proposed business must be to make a profit from active or earned income, not passive income, through the sale of goods or provision of services.
  • The proposed business must comply with any applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements that govern its operation. This includes Alberta labour laws, including, but not limited to, employment standards, occupational health and safety, and labour relations legislations.
  • The proposed business must comply with applicable trade certification requirements in Alberta. For example, businesses in a compulsory trade must have a valid Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Trade (AIT) recognized trade certificate. To determine if you require a trade certificate, review these lists of designated trades:
  • The business plan or pitch deck must indicate the proposed business is connected to one of the following sectors: technology, aerospace, financial services, energy, agriculture, tourism, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals.
  • The proposed business must have a physical place of business in Alberta at all times.
  • For franchises, the ownership requirements and all other program criteria are the same as for other businesses. Candidates must also provide evidence that they have received support from the master franchisor to operate a franchise location.
  • You must own a minimum of 34% of the business in an urban centre, or a minimum of 51% of the business in a regional area. You are required to reside in Alberta and be involved in the day-to-day management of the business. You may not do this remotely, or from another Canadian province or territory or from another country, and you are required to demonstrate residence in Alberta while on a work permit.

Ineligible businesses

Ineligible businesses include:

  • any business in contravention of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations – for example, immigration-linked investment schemes or passive investment
  • businesses without a value-add economic component, including:
    • pay day loan, cheque cashing and related businesses
    • businesses trading in used goods
  • businesses that would be considered passive investment or lack active management, including: insurance brokerage or business brokerage
  • project based or seasonal businesses
  • home-based businesses, including:
    • businesses that are not zoned for commercial or industrial operations
    • bed-and-breakfasts and lodging houses
  • businesses that are part of a succession plan
  • businesses involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services
  • any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the AAIP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute, in the opinion of and as determined by the AAIP

Contact

Connect with the program if you have questions:
Email: [email protected]

Was this page helpful?

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

You will not receive a reply. Do not enter any personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, or emails.

Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca. If you require a response, please go to our Contact page.