Nova Scotia Entrepreneur


The Entrepreneur Stream is for experienced business owners or senior business managers who want to live in Nova Scotia. They must start a new business or buy an existing business and must actively participate in the day-to-day management of the business. After operating the business for a year, the entrepreneur may be nominated for permanent resident status.


To apply you must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older;
  • Have no less than $600,000 CAD in unencumbered net business and personal assets that are readily available for transfer to Canada, verified by NSOI-designated third party professionals.
  • Demonstrate accumulation of claimed net worth through legal means, verified by NSOI designated third party professionals.
  • Have a minimum of three years of business ownership experience including 33.33% ownership in the last 10 years or greater than five years of experience in a senior business manager role in the last 10 years.
  • Have Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French.
  • Have a minimum of Canadian high school diploma or equivalent foreign credential verified by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), taken in the last five years prior to the date the EOI is submitted.
  • Agree to make a minimum capital investment of $150,000 CAD to establish a business in Nova Scotia.
  • Agree to reside in Nova Scotia.

Eligibility Criteria for Applicant’s Business

In addition to meeting the minimum eligibility criteria above, the applicant’s proposed business must also meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must own at least one third (33.33%) of the equity of the business.
  • The applicant must provide active and on-going participation in the day-to-day management and direction of the business.
  • Businesses must meet the legal requirements of the community in which they operate.
  • The business must be a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services.
  • The business must be considered a “permanent establishment” as defined under subsection 400(2) of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations, 1985.
  • The business is liable to pay income tax on taxable income earned as a result of a “permanent establishment” in Nova Scotia, irrespective of income or other taxes which may also be payable in other jurisdictions as a result of income earned or other business activity.
  • The business must be actively managed by the applicant from the place of business in Nova Scotia. The business must not be managed from another location in Nova Scotia or from another Canadian province or territory or other country.
  • The business must have the potential to create significant economic benefit to Nova Scotia. For example:
    • Increasing value added manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, research and development, and technology commercialization;
    • Developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses
    • Transferring technology and specialized knowledge to Nova Scotia; or
    • Providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market.

There are two categories within the Entrepreneur Stream, starting a New Business and Purchasing an Existing Business. Each category has unique criteria in addition to the criteria noted above.

Additional Criteria When Starting a New Business

If starting a business, the applicant must create a minimum of one full-time or equivalent part-time employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident in Nova Scotia (non-relative worker). This position(s) must:

  • Be over and above any position filled by the approved applicant. For clarity, jobs created for or filled by dependents or relatives of the applicant are not
  • Be relevant and directly related to the applicant’s business.

Additional Criteria When Purchasing an Existing Business

If the applicant is purchasing an existing Nova Scotia business, all of the following apply:

  • The Nova Scotia based business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner in Nova Scotia for the previous five (5) years
  • All applicants purchasing or partnering in an existing business must complete an exploratory visit to meet the current owner(s).
  • Applicants must provide evidence that reasonable efforts were taken to establish a fair market value for the business must be actively in operation and not in applicants must offer employment on similar terms and conditions to existing staff, including maintaining existing wages and employment terms.
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