Is Your Community Ready To Attract Immigrant Entrepreneurs And Their Families?


….especially immigrant entrepreneurs who want to start agri-food related businesses?


Part #1


As migration of global talent continues to increase, communities and regions around the world want to know why immigrants prefer to locate themselves and their families in specific countries, regions and communities. Communities want to know how newcomer immigrants choose a home.

Group of diverse happy children

“How do immigrants view’ our communities? What do our communities need to do to attract more immigrants and how will we ensure they’ll stay in our towns and villages?”


Immigrant entrepreneurs and their families want to know

“How does your region perform when it comes to education, economy, innovation, health care, social activities for families, clean environment, civic engagement and safe friendly neighbourhoods with other amenities like transportation, housing?”

Overall quality of life and community well-being are important. 


A broad cross-section of community stakeholders have commented that:

“there is a growing awareness that we must go beyond GDP and economic statistics to get a fuller understanding of how our society is doing.”


It is critical that we zoom in on how life in our communities is lived!  Recent immigrant arrivals often state:

“Where we choose to live has an impact on our quality of life, and in return, we choose to live in a place that gives us the opportunity to contribute our talents to making the community life a better place.”

Immigrants are helping to grow the Ontario economy everywhere, not just in the places—like our biggest cities—that we’ve come to expect. They are helping to fill labor shortages within firms across our agri-food value chains.  They are starting their own businesses that employ workers and develop some of the cutting-edge products that make Ontario the world’s preeminent agri-food innovation hub.

Comparing measures of regional well-being will offer us new ways to gauge what policies work and can empower a community to attract immigrant entrepreneurs and their families and to achieve a higher overall well-being for all its citizens.




There’s been a growing interest in how to determine indicators and capture information on community attractiveness and well-being. There are now a number of data-driven, interactive tools used around the world that capture data at international, national, regional, provincial, and municipal levels.  These tools are offered in open access format and are available for public use.  

At the global level, the OECD Regional Well-Being tool [Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development] identifies how your region performs when it comes to education, environment, safety and other topics important to your community’s well-being.  This interactive site allows you to measure well-being in your region and compare it with 300 other OECD regions around the world based on eight topics central to the quality of living. The OECD Regional Well-Being for Ontario provides a snapshot from this global level. The data can be compared with other provinces, regions, and countries.  Immigrant entrepreneurs can review this resource when deciding which country to select.

Map the Impact of Immigration Across the Nation is a recently released interactive tool from the USA. This map shows survey results of just some of the research on how immigrants are making an impact in each of the 50 states.

“For Ontario, the bordering US states show immigrants’ business impact profiles. These profiles provide insights on the import/export relationships that evolve between Ontario’s immigrant entrepreneurs involved in the agri-food sector with their counterparts across the border.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs along with several other ministries and stakeholder communities across the province designed and tested the Community Immigrant Retention in Rural Ontario [CIRRO] framework several years ago. [See: Blog Survey Results #5 Services and Programs Specifically Designed For Immigrants] 




The CIRRO program supports communities in human capital planning. Human capital is the collective knowledge, skills and workforce that drives productivity and economic growth in a community. It includes the current workforce, future workforce from within the community and newcomers who move to the community. The focus of the CIRRO program is to support communities in developing and implementing strategies to attract and retain newcomers in order to balance the changing population, the needs for an educated workforce and to sustain or grow their economy.

It provides information, tools and case study examples to help communities attract and retain newcomers in support of economic development initiatives including: succession planning, skills attractions and business growth.”

Community Attractiveness Indicators for Newcomers [CAIN] is the analytical tool that provides basic information and statistics to help communities assess their ability to attract and retain sufficient human capital for economic development.

Communities of all sizes need factual and comparative data to support planning efforts and decision making to assist in the creation of strategies for attracting newcomers. As a result, communities can understand how to build on their strengths and overcome barriers to successfully recruit and retain skilled and entrepreneurial newcomers, thereby increasing innovation and productivity in the local economy.

This tool is a new component of the program and provides indicators based on national and provincial statistics. Key information that helps to identify community attractiveness include:

  • health
  • housing
  • amenities
  • economy
  • innovation
  • education
  • society, and
  • overall newcomer attractiveness.



Part #2 “Is your community ready to attract immigrant entrepreneurs and their families?” will focus in detail on the CAIN attractiveness indicators and provide you with a look at results from some municipalities within Ontario’s five major economic regions.


Carol Tyler
Research Team

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