New app connects immigrant entrepreneurs with customers and each other
What do henna, massage therapy, IT solutions, driving school, and catering services have in common? You can find them all and so much more on the ISANS Business Marketplace, a unique online space for immigrant business owners and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.
There are now more than 100 immigrant-owned businesses featured in the marketplace. You can download the marketplace app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, or visit marketplace.isans.ca.
The marketplace was created to help newcomers market their businesses and engage with other immigrant business owners and potential customers. It’s also a great resource for the local community—to help them meet their service needs and support local enterprises.
Immigrant entrepreneurs are risk takers; they are courageous, passionate, and innovative. Many come to Canada with previous entrepreneurial experience, or they use transferable skills to begin a new business. Immigrant entrepreneurs play a key role in contributing to the local economy.
“Immigrants, including refugees, are 30% more likely to start a business than non-immigrants,” says Jennifer Watts, CEO of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). “Immigrant business owners contribute to the Nova Scotia economy, employ other Nova Scotians, and build a future for themselves and their families in Nova Scotia. We all benefit from immigrant entrepreneurs.”
ISANS has been providing business development services to immigrant entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. It has a dedicated team of professionals to help newcomers understand what they need to start or grow a business in Nova Scotia. Business counselors offer one-on-one support before, during, and after a business opens. Training workshops cover a range of topics, from import/export, to networking, to how to sell to governments. ISANS connects immigrants to the business community to give newcomers the opportunity to buy or sell a business, get free expert advice, and build their networks.
“Part of what the business team does is listen to the needs and wants of our immigrant entrepreneurs,” says Sherry Redden, Manager of Business & Workforce Integration. “We do our best to offer services that align with what they need. We hear time and time again that immigrants want help marketing their businesses. Working with application developer Curbza, we built the ISANS Business Marketplace as a space for them to advertise their businesses.”
Immigrant business owners add their own listings, photos, and links. Within the marketplace, business owners can connect with each other for advice and support. It’s a unique place that showcases the diversity and strength of the growing Nova Scotia business community.