Gibsons, Sechelt and the District of Sechelt are three of 30 communities in B.C. participating in a pilot program aimed at attracting immigrant entrepreneurs.

To be eligible to participate, a community must have settlement and business supports in place to help newcomers successfully integrate, it must have a population of 75,000 and be located 30 kilometres away from a municipality of more than 75,000.

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology said the immigrant nominee pilot program is focused on attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities.

“I think what many communities outside the metropolitan areas struggle with is their ability to attract immigrants, who are valued, to their communities.”

He said the program is part of the B.C. Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur Immigration program.

“The entrepreneurial stream is 325 people a year and this is a subset, in other words, a smaller number within that stream. The period for applications is now open. It won’t be huge numbers but we have got a lot of interest so we will see what the response is. I know there is a lot of interest internationally in this program.”

In 2018, 152 invitations were issued through the B.C. Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur Immigration base category.

The entrepreneur immigration program has generated more than 2,000 jobs since 2010.

Applicants to the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot must have a personal net worth of 300,000 dollars, make a minimum investment of 100,000 dollars in a new business and create one new job.