The Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream actively selects skilled foreign graduates residing outside Canada, granting them permanent residence upon initiating start-up businesses in Alberta. This stream represents a collaboration between Alberta and officially approved designated agencies, streamlining the immigration process for those interested in relocating to Canada.

Engaging with Designated Agencies: Mandatory Steps for Participation

To participate in this stream, individuals must engage with a designated agency, a mandatory requirement for the application process. Meeting the eligibility criteria outlined by the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program prompts the designated agency to issue a letter of recommendation in favor of the applicant. This letter must be subsequently submitted alongside the Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP Portal, the province's dedicated online platform for immigration applications. The EOI serves as a formal indication of one's intent to immigrate to Alberta.

For those looking into the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Streams, it is advisable to reach out to one of the designated agencies listed below:

Empowered Start-Ups

Platform Calgary

Thorough Evaluation of Business Plans: A Crucial Step in the Application Process

Upon receipt of the recommendation letter and EOI, the designated agency assumes the responsibility of scrutinizing the business plans. This evaluation hinges on the applicant's ability to convincingly demonstrate the potential for successful market entry, customer acquisition, business development, formation of key partnerships, and the formulation of robust financial plans to fund both the development and operation of the business. Following this assessment, the designated agency furnishes a detailed report outlining their evaluation of the business plan. This report becomes an integral component of the application under the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.

Minimum Requirements for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

To be eligible for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

Work Experience

Candidates are required to possess a minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience involving active management or ownership of a business. Alternatively, applicants may have experience working with a business incubator or business accelerator.


Prospective entrepreneurs must have completed a degree from a post-secondary institution within the past ten years. Additionally, they are mandated to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Business Plan

Applicants are obligated to submit a comprehensive business plan that includes projected financials for their proposed venture.

Pitch Deck

A crucial element of the application involves preparing a 10-minute presentation outlining the proposed business, akin to a presentation for potential investors.

Language Requirements

Candidates must demonstrate a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5 for each English language skill (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) or Niveaux de comp├ętence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 7 for each French language skill. Test results older than two years at the time of Expression of Interest (EOI) submission will not be accepted.

Business Establishment

Entrepreneurs are required to have a minimum ownership stake of 34% if the business is situated in an urban center, or at least 51% ownership if located in a regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton.

Business Investment

Before arriving in Alberta, candidates must make an investment of at least CAD $100,000 for businesses in urban centers or CAD $50,000 for those in regional areas. The amount invested directly correlates with the points awarded. This investment must come from the applicant's equity or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm.

Letter of Recommendation

Applicants must secure a letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved designated agency.

Financial Resources for Business Establishment

Beyond the previously outlined criteria, applicants must showcase their ability to establish and sustain their business by providing evidence of the necessary funds. This requirement involves demonstrating the financial capacity not only to initiate the business but also to maintain personal support during this venture.

The required amount for self-support is contingent on two key factors: the size of the applicant's family and the population of the community where the business is slated to launch. The correlation between these factors determines the financial threshold that individuals must meet to adequately support themselves while actively engaged in business activities.

Points Assessment - Human Capital:

  • In the points assessment for human capital, language proficiency is a crucial factor with a maximum allocation of 30 points.
  • Proficiency levels of CLB 5, CLB 6, CLB 7, and CLB 8 correspond to 10, 15, 20, and 30 points, respectively.
  • Education is another key aspect, where possessing a Bachelor's degree is mandatory and earns 5 points.
  • Additional points can be gained for holding a Master's degree (10 points), a Doctoral degree (15 points), completing a degree within the last 5 years at the time of EOI submission (10 points), having degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (5 points), and possessing business degrees (5 points).
  • The category of business management, ownership, or equivalent experience is assessed based on different time frames, starting from 6 months (5 points) to more than 2 years (20 points).
  • An additional 15 points are awarded for business ownership experience.

Business Requirements:

  • Moving on to business requirements, a maximum of 40 points can be earned for a well-structured business plan aligning with AAIP guidelines.
  • The investment prior to coming to Alberta is assessed based on the location.
  • For urban centers, investments range from a mandatory minimum of $100,000 (5 points) to over $200,000 (25 points).
  • In regional areas, the investment varies from a mandatory minimum of $50,000 (5 points) to over $150,000 (25 points).
  • Additional investment after the launch is similarly categorized for urban areas and communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary Metropolitan Regions, as well as regional areas.
  • Points can be gained based on the amount of investment made.
  • Job creation is rewarded with 5 points for 1 job, 10 points for 2 jobs, and 15 points for 3 jobs or more.
  • Pass/Fail Assessment Grid:
    • The Pass/Fail Assessment Grid considers various criteria for approval.
    • The ownership of the start-up mandates a minimum of 34% ownership in an urban center or 51% ownership in a regional community.
    • Businesses must be connected to key or priority sectors, including technology, aerospace, financial services, energy, agriculture, tourism, life sciences, or pharmaceuticals, to pass this criterion.
    • Settlement funds are required to support the applicant and their family while on a work permit and starting the business in Alberta.
    • A pitch deck, a 10-minute slides-only presentation describing the individual and the proposed business, is mandatory.
    •  Lastly, obtaining a letter of recommendation from an approved designated agency is crucial for a successful application.