Alberta’s Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream: A Golden Opportunity

In the past decade, Canada has become an attractive destination for international students, attracting top-notch talent from all corners of the globe. As students come to Canada to acquire valuable knowledge and skills, many wish to transform their educational experience into a longer-term residency, contributing to the country’s growth and prosperity. In light of this, Alberta has launched the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (FGES), a pathway offering promising foreign graduates the opportunity to permanently immigrate to Canada. Herein, we'll delve into the details of this promising opportunity.

The Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

Launched under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), the FGES serves as a beacon of opportunity for international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions who aspire to launch start-ups or purchase existing businesses in the province. It's an innovative avenue that fosters entrepreneurship, stimulates the local economy, and aids in the retention of international talent.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the FGES, applicants must meet certain prerequisites:

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).


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.



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:

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General Test

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Test 

Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) Canada 

Test de connaissance du français (TCF) Canada 

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).

The Application Process

Once eligibility is confirmed, the process entails the submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AINP portal. If your EOI is accepted, you’ll be invited to submit a Business Application. After application approval, a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) is signed, enabling the applicant to establish or acquire a business in Alberta. After 12 months of operation, the applicant may request a nomination for permanent residency.

Designated Agencies

Support in business establishment can be sought from designated agencies that Alberta recognizes. According to the official page of Alberta immigration, 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 counseling, coaching, and guidance when launching their business in Alberta and while they are trying to achieve the requirements of the Business Performance Agreement.

The 2 agencies currently designated are: 

Empowered Startups

420-744 West Hastings

Vancouver, British Columbia

V6C 1A5

Phone: 604-229-1052

Fax: 604-229-2037

Email: [email protected]

Platform Calgary 

407 9th Avenue SE

Calgary, Alberta

T2G 2K7

Phone: 403-284-6400

Email: [email protected]

These agencies are committed to helping entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of launching a business in Alberta, offering invaluable advice, and providing essential business resources.

Making Your Dream a Reality

Canada, and more specifically Alberta, is continuously working towards attracting and retaining international talent. The FGES is a testament to the province's commitment to fostering global entrepreneurship and innovation.

Navigating the FGES application process can seem overwhelming, but rest assured, you are not alone. We offer personalized guidance to help you make the most of this opportunity. To streamline your path to permanent residency and business success, book a one-on-one session with our team of experienced advisors today. Let's make your Canadian dream a rewarding reality together. You can check more information on the official Alberta website using the links below:

Alberta Immigration Streams

Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Overview

Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Eligibility

Book a Consultation Session With Us


Welcome to Immigrate With Ammy blog space. As an immigrant, I have a firsthand experience of the hurdles that people face when taking a decision about relocation and this blog is born out of a desire to provide support to such people. Here, you will find useful and updated information on travel, immigration, study abroad, and job recruitment in countries such as Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, and others. I have a lot of video resources on my YouTube channel (Immigrate With Ammy) and you can also join my Twitter community by following me on @AmmyWith and on Facebook by following Immigrate With Ammy.

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