The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream is actively inviting Expressions of Interest from immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to establish or acquire a business within a rural Alberta community, defined as having a population of fewer than 100,000. This initiative aims to stimulate economic growth in these communities by harnessing the skills and initiatives of entrepreneurs, thereby generating employment opportunities for Albertans.


Under the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, eligible entrepreneurs aspiring to initiate a new business or take over an existing one in a rural Alberta community can secure a provincial nomination from Alberta. The primary objective of this program is to capitalize on the capabilities of entrepreneurs, fostering job creation within the province.

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) characterizes an entrepreneur as an individual who establishes or expands a business for profit, possessing the potential to introduce new ideas, goods, services, and business practices.

Qualifying Communities

Communities eligible for designation under this program must meet specific criteria:

  • Have a population of less than 100,000 with the option for communities in the same economic region to form partnerships for application.
  • Exist outside the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan areas.

How it Works

The Rural Entrepreneur process unfolds through several steps:

1. Exploratory Visit:

Entrepreneurs conduct visits to connect with local business contacts, community economic development officers, and other potential stakeholders. This step aims to provide entrepreneurs with insights into the local business environment, aiding them in making informed decisions.

2. Business Proposal Submission:

Entrepreneurs submit a copy of the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Business Proposal Summary to the community contact.

3. Community Support Letter:

If the business project demonstrates potential benefits to the community, a Community Support Letter is issued. This letter signifies the community's awareness of and support for the project's development in Alberta.

4. Expression of Interest (EOI) Submission:

Upon receiving the Community Support Letter, entrepreneurs can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AAIP.

Community Designation Requirements

To qualify for designation, rural communities must meet the following criteria:

  •  Population fewer than 100,000, with the option for partnership applications.
  •  Located outside the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan areas.
  •  Interest from employers offering permanent, full-time, non-seasonal employment.
  •  Letter of support from the community or municipal council.
  •  Application from the economic development organization with an economic development plan.
  •  Letter of support from a settlement agency.

List of Participating Rural Communities

  •  County of Wetaskiwin
  •  Red Deer County
  •  City of Wetaskiwin
  •  Town of Didsbury
  •  Town of Millet
  •  Town of Olds
  •  Village of Clive
  •  Town of Trochu

Eligibility Requirements for Entrepreneurs

In order to qualify for the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, aspiring candidates must:

  • Possess a minimum of 3 years' experience as an active business owner/manager or 4 years' experience as a senior manager in the past 10 years.
  • Have completed high school education equivalent to the Canadian standard.
  • Attain a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 4 in each English language skill or Niveaux de comp├ętence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 in each French language skill.
  • Hold a minimum net worth of $300,000 in personal holdings or those of a spouse/common-law partner.
  • Maintain a minimum shareholding of 51% for a new company or 100% for a buyout.
  • Create at least one full-time job for Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents through new businesses.
  • Possess a Community Support Letter from a participating rural Alberta community.

Factors Increasing Candidate Chances

  • Age between 29 and 49 years.
  • Spouse/common-law partner with at least one year of full-time post-secondary education or CLB 4 in English or NCLC 4 in French.
  • Having a relative in Alberta.

Eligible Businesses

The responsibility to ensure eligibility rests with the candidate. Eligible businesses must:

  • Aim to make a profit from active or earned income through goods and/or services.
  • Comply with all applicable statutory, regulatory, or licensing requirements.
  • Maintain a physical business location within a rural Alberta community continuously.
  • Adhere to ownership requirements, with the candidate owning at least 51% for a new business or 100% for an existing business.
  • Involve the candidate residing in Alberta, engaged in day-to-day management.

Ineligible Businesses

Ineligible businesses include those contravening the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, lacking a value-added economic component, trading in second-hand goods, considered passive investments, engaging in real estate development/brokerage, coin-operated businesses, project-based or seasonal businesses, home-based businesses, or those owned/operated by a relative of the candidate. Additionally, businesses involved in certain activities that may bring disrepute to the AAIP and the Government of Alberta are considered ineligible, as determined by the AAIP.