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The Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is for international students who have graduated from post-secondary institutions in Alberta and wish to immigrate to the province permanently by starting a business or purchasing an existing business.

The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) operated by the prairie province of Alberta.

The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is a lengthy and complex immigration stream. Candidates will be required to create and carry out extensive plans for business ownership and management. There may be other permanent residence pathways, for example, the Canadian Experience Class of Express Entry, which could be faster and easier immigration options. However, for motivated entrepreneurs, the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream could be an effective way to start a business career while also obtaining permanent resident status.

Eligibility Requirements for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream has a strict set of minimum eligibility requirements which a candidate must meet in order to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). However, submitting an EOI is only the first step in the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream process. Eligible EOIs will be scored using the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid and only those candidates with the highest scores will be invited to submit an official application.

The minimum eligibility requirements for Alberta’s Graduate Entrepreneur Stream are as follows:

Work Experience

Candidates must have at least six months of full-time work experience in either: (1) active business ownership or management, or (2) equivalent activities, such as completion of a business incubator, business accelerator, or entrepreneurship program courses*. If you are unsure whether your experience qualifies, contact AAIP directly.

*Approved post-secondary institution (PSI) entrepreneur programs

Education

Candidates must have completed at least two years of full-time study in Alberta, resulting in a post-secondary educational credential from an Alberta educational institution. This program must have resulted in a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Candidates must have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) which is valid for at least two years at the time of EOI submission.

English or French Language Ability

Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French by completing an approved language test. Candidates must score a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 7 (CLB 7) in all four components of the language test.

Business Establishment

Candidates must buy or establish a new business in Alberta. They must own at least 34% of the business. The proposed business must not be on the ineligible businesses list:

Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Ineligible Businesses List

If a candidate meets these minimum eligibility requirements, they can follow the instructions below to apply to Alberta’s Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.

Application Procedure for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

If a person meets the minimum eligibility requirements for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, the first step in the application process is submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) using the AAIP Online Portal. EOIs are valid for up to 12 months.

EOIs for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream will be assigned a score out of 125 points based on the Points Grid. It may take AAIP officials up to 30 days to score a candidate’s EOI, during which time they may contact the candidate to request additional information. The highest scoring EOIs will be selected from the pool and these candidates will be invited to the next stage of the process: the Business Application package.

The Business Application package is a detailed explanation of the applicant’s entrepreneurial plan in Alberta. It requires extensive documentation and detailed information about the business plan. Applicants also must submit a non-refundable fee of CAD$3,500 with the Business Application package.

If a candidate’s Business Application package is approved, AAIP will send a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) which the applicant must sign and return. After this, the candidate must own and operate their Alberta business for at least 12 months, adhering to the terms of their BPA. If their work permit will expire during this period, they may apply for an extension.

After 12 months of business ownership and management, applicants are eligible to submit a final report to Alberta. If approved, Alberta will issue an official provincial nomination, enabling applicants to apply for permanent resident status. As the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is not a part of Express Entry, applicants must apply to the federal government for permanent resident status using the online platform for non-Express Entry PNP applicants.

Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) submitted to the Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream are given a score out of 125 points, based on the criteria laid out in the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid:

Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream — Business Establishment Factors

Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream — Human Capital Factors

Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream — Adaptability Factors

Graduate Entrepreneur Stream – Recent Draws

The Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream was announced late in 2020. At this point in time, it remains unclear whether the details of selected EOIs will be made publicly available. Many PNPs opt to publish details about invitation rounds and if the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream does so, we will make that information available here.

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Rebecca Major

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Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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