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Toronto and Beyond: Five Tips for Expanding to Canada

Industry Insights

By Toronto Global in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

8 May 2023

NZTE Techweek Toronto blog image

The Toronto Region tech industry is the fastest-growing in North America, creating more jobs than the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and New York City. Over 289,000 individuals work in tech occupations in the region – a number that has grown more than 40 percent over the last five years.

Everything your company needs to grow can be found in the Toronto Region. There is more venture capital funding here than the next five largest cities in Canada combined. You also have access to a quality talent pool to build the best possible team to attract to this funding.

So, how do you harness this potential and apply it to your business expansion? As the investment attraction agency for the Toronto Region, Toronto Global has supported a wide range of businesses from around the world to do just that. Here are five top tips from our team to yours.

1. Collaborate, don’t compete.

When expanding internationally, the importance of the connections you make with other companies cannot be overstated. 

Toronto Global can help you find the right resources, networks, and potential partners within the Toronto Region’s various tech centre nodes. For example, York Region, located in the northern part of the Toronto Region, is home to over 4,600 ICT companies, many of which have a focus on chip hardware manufacturing.

2. Nine to five meets five to nine.

The location you choose is where members of your team will work and live, meaning quality of life is important. 

The City of Toronto, in the centre of the Toronto Region, ranks as the eighth most livable city in the world, with access to public health care, high-quality education and a welcoming and multicultural community. 

These same amenities are available in the municipalities surrounding Toronto which make up the Toronto Region.

3. Get started early. 

Accomplish as much as you can before you arrive in Toronto. Most operational activities can be accomplished remotely, which gives you the ability to dictate the pace of your set-up. 

Similar to many other countries, you’ll have to hurry up and wait for more complex processes like immigration and banking. Luckily, we have specialised channels for immigration that suit the needs of your business, and Toronto Global is a referral partner for the Government of Canada’s Global Talent Stream.

In Canada, immigration accounts for almost 100 percent of labour force growth and contributes to 75 percent of population growth. It’s in our DNA to build through immigration, and over 100,000 new immigrants to Canada choose to live in the Toronto Region each year. 

At a national level, Canada plans to welcome over 1.4 million new highly skilled residents over the next three years. In response, we’ve created tailored channels for you to hire the right employees from around the globe to your operations in the Toronto Region.

4. Get acquainted with the business ecosystem.

Both New Zealand and Canada are part of the Commonwealth, meaning that we operate with similar rules, but different players. Try and get a team on the ground as soon as you can, even if it is solely for research and development purposes to gain local insights. 

Forty percent of Canadian headquarters are located in the Toronto Region, which is key to gaining access to the North American customer base. Many new entrants find having a backend team to serve customers and perform R&D in Canada, supporting a sales and marketing team targeting the United States, to be a popular model. 

Canada has a variety of supports to help companies hire, train, and perform R&D, and Toronto Global can help you navigate and make introductions to the networks and service providers you need.

5. Leverage your brand every way you can. 

Chances are no one has heard of you over here, at least not yet. Attend as many conferences, events, and networking meet ups as you can to get your name out there. Engage with local tertiary providers to communicate what it is you do and why it matters. You have 18 colleges and universities, and over 40,000 STEM graduates a year, at your disposal to build your team.

Like Canada, New Zealand does not have a massive population, but both are global populations. There are about 160 people in executive positions who studied at New Zealand universities and institutions living in the Toronto Region. These are your champions, so reach out and start the conversation. 

If you don’t know where to start with finding talent, reach out to our team for guidance. If you can hire someone who is both familiar with your brand and the market you’re moving to, you’ve struck gold, and we love making those connections that keep on giving.

What next?

Making yourself familiar with the Toronto Region is a great first step into Canada and North America. Along with NZTE, Toronto Global is here to support your expansion and keep you up to date on everything happening in this part of the world. Reach out to leverage our support and network in Canada’s business, financial and tech capital.

Toronto Global is the investment attraction agency that supports the expansion of international businesses into the Toronto Region.

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