Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream

Last updated: 25 May 2023

Alberta rural entrepreneur stream 2022

The Rural Entrepreneur Stream is accepting Expressions of Interest from immigrant entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business or acquire an existing business in a rural Alberta community. Rural Alberta communities are those with a population of less than 100,000.

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Table of Contents


Through the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, qualified entrepreneurs who wish to start a new business or take over an existing business in a rural Alberta community can obtain a provincial nomination from Alberta. The goal of the program is to leverage the skills and initiatives of entrepreneurs to create jobs for Albertans.

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) defines an entrepreneur as a person who establishes or grows a business in order to make a profit and who has the potential to become a source of new ideas, new goods, new services, and new undertakings or business practices.

Rural Alberta communities that may qualify for designation under the program are those with a population of less than 100,000 and which are located outside the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan areas.

How it Works

The Rural Entrepreneur process involves the following steps:

Step 1:
 An exploratory visit to meet with local business contacts, community economic development officers, and any other potential contacts to learn about and understand the local business environment and the requirements for establishing a successful business in the selected region. The objective behind this step is to provide prospective entrepreneurs with the opportunity to make an informed decision about operating and managing a business in a rural Alberta community.

Step 2: Provide the community contact with a copy of the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Business Proposal Summary.

Step 3: 
Where the business project is deemed beneficial and likely to have a positive impact on the community, then a Community Support Letter will be issued. This letter is an endorsement of the business project and signifies that the community is aware of and supports the project and its development in Alberta.

Step 4:
Once the entrepreneur receives a copy of the Community Support Letter, they can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AAIP.

Community Designation Requirements

Rural communities must meet the following requirements to be considered for designation:

  • Have a population of fewer than 100,000 (communities in the same economic region can form a partnership to apply);
  • Be outside the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan areas;
  • Have one or more employers interested in participating and offering permanent, full-time, non-seasonal employment;
  • Obtain a letter of support from the community or municipal council;
  • Submit a signed application from the economic development organization with a primary economic development function, including an economic development plan or similar document;
  • Obtain a letter of support from a settlement agency.

List of rural communities who are participating in the Rural Entrepreneur Stream: 

Eligibility Requirements for Entrepreneurs

To be considered for the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, candidates must:

  • Have either a minimum 3 years of experience as an active business owner/manager or a minimum of 4 years of experience as a senior manager within the past 10 years;
  • Have completed a minimum of high school equivalent to the Canadian standard ;
  • Have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 4 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening, and speaking;
  • Have a minimum net worth of $300,000 in personal holdings or those of a spouse's or common-law partner;
  • To have a minimum shareholding of 51% if it is a new company or 100% in the case of a buyout;
  • New businesses must create at least one full-time job for Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents;
  • have a Community Support Letter from a participating rural Alberta community.

The following factor may increase a candidate's chances:

  • The candidate is between 29 and 49 years of age;
  • The spouse/common-law partner has completed at least one year of full-time post-secondary education or has a minimum level Canadian Language Benchmark 4 in English or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens 4 in French in all four language abilities (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking);
  • They have a relative in Alberta.

Eligible businesses

The responsibility to ensure that the proposed business meets the eligibility criteria rests with the candidate. If the business is not eligible or if the candidate fails to clearly demonstrate that it represents a significant economic benefit to Alberta, the EOI or business application may be rejected.

Businesses are eligible if they meet the following general requirements under the Rural Entrepreneur Stream:

  • The objective of the proposed business is to make a profit from active or earned income through the sale of goods and/or services;
  • The proposed business complies with all applicable federal, provincial or municipal statutory, regulatory or licensing requirements governing its activities;
  • The proposed business complies with applicable trade certification requirements in Alberta;
  • The proposed business must have a physical place of business in a rural Alberta community at all times;
  • For franchises, the ownership requirements and all other program criteria are the same as for other businesses. However, applicants are also required to provide proof of support from the master franchisor to operate a franchised location;
  • The candidate must own at least 51% of the business if it is a new business, or 100% of the business if they are purchasing an existing business;
  • Candidates must reside in Alberta and be involved in the day-to-day management of the business. They cannot do this remotely, from another province or territory in Canada, or from another country.

Ineligible businesses

Ineligible businesses include the following: 

  • Any business that contravenes the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations, such as immigration-related investment schemes or passive investments;
  • Businesses without a value-added economic component such as payday loans, cheque cashing;
  • Businesses trading in second-hand goods;
  • Businesses that would be considered passive investments, such as real estate rental, leasing or investment activities;
  • Real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage;
  • Coin-operated businesses, such as laundromats and car washes;
  • Project-based or seasonal businesses;
  • Home-based businesses, such as bed and breakfasts and lodging houses;
  • Businesses that are part of a succession plan and are owned or operated by a relative of the candidate;
  • Businesses that were previously owned/operated by a current or former AAIP candidate/nominee within the last 4 years;
  • Have changed ownership in the last 3 years prior to the Rural Entrepreneur application;
  • Businesses that produce, distribute or sell pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or provide services of a sexual nature;
  • Any other type of business that, by association, would tend to bring the AAIP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute, as determined by the AAIP.

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