From Arlene: Business Success Comes From Creativity & Resourcefulness

From Arlene: Business Success Comes From Creativity & Resourcefulness

Leadership | Posted by - March 11, 2016 at 1:00 am

I’ve always admired the ingenuity of newcomer entrepreneurs in Canada.

Arriving in Canada to begin a new life can be a simultaneously exciting and scary experience. You don’t know what to expect, and you don’t know how things will turn out. You can make all kinds of plans before you immigrate to a new country, but often the realities when you get there will differ from your expectations, and plans will need to change.

A creative, outside-the-box approach will help any newcomer to adapt to change. And dealing promptly and skillfully with any situation will help you to create a positive outcome.

It’s these kinds of abilities that help over 40,000 newcomer entrepreneurs who start a business in Canada each year to adapt to their new environment. And succeed here.

Resourcefulness comes into play when a newcomer entrepreneur is thrown a curve ball and finds themself up against unforeseen challenges and obstacles.

For example, according to the Conference Board of Canada, immigrants to Canada win proportionally more prestigious literary and performing arts awards than people born here – immigrants comprise 23 percent of Giller Prize finalists and 29 percent of winners; further, 23 percent of Governor General’s Performing Arts Award recipients are immigrants. And here’s another fascinating fact from the Conference Board’s report on Immigrants as Innovators: at least 35 percent of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants are just one-fifth of the Canadian population.

The board also found that “a one percentage point increase in the number of immigrants to Canada can increase the value of imports into Canada by 0.21 per cent, and raise the value of exports by 0.11 per cent.”

Achieving that kind of success starts with learning about your new environment. When my family came to Canada from South Africa, we quickly learned how things worked so we could build the life we wanted.

For example, a creative approach for a newcomer arriving without business connections in Canada is to tap into the local community of expatriates in their town or city – people from the same country they are from. Most cities in Canada have healthy immigrant communities. Expatriates will help someone new to Canada to establish relationships helpful to growing a business, and can make valuable recommendations regarding places to live, schools to attend, and where to access supportive programs offered by governments and settlement agencies.

Resourcefulness comes into play when a newcomer entrepreneur is thrown a curve ball and finds themself up against unforeseen challenges and obstacles. There are events no business plan can help you to anticipate – like being unable to secure business financing due to a lack of credit history in this country, or finding out a new business partner wasn’t accurate about the number of solid commercial relationships he claimed to possess.

Newcomers rise to these and other challenges by tapping into their innate resourcefulness and ingenuity. Time and time again I’ve seen entrepreneurs pivot quickly, to modify their strategy and actions to account for an unexpected development. For example, a qualified entrepreneur who wants to establish a credit history in Canada can turn to Scotiabank’s StartRight Program for assistance. Or the entrepreneur disappointed about his partners’ connections can move quickly to find a better qualified alliance.

The ability of new Canadian entrepreneurs to summon up that “can-do” attitude never ceases to inspire me. They leverage their talent and experience to produce amazing solutions to unexpected business challenges. 

You always find a way because you know that being an entrepreneur is all about perseverance. It’s that never-say-die attitude mixed with your creativity and resourcefulness that will definitely take you to whatever success you imagine.

Tags: immigrants, business success, blog, arlene dickinson, business advice, canada, canada business, canadian businesses, canadian dream, canadian immigrant, challenges, creative, creativity, entrepreneur, resources

Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned independent marketing communications entrepreneurs. As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list.  She is also the CEO of, a company she founded in 2012 that is dedicated to serving and investing in entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. 

Dickinson is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons’ Den, The Big Decision and marketing expert on Recipe to Riches.  She is the author of two books, the number one bestselling book, Persuasion and her most recent best-selling release, All In. 

Marcy Lindgren
January 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Thank you for this article as we begin 2015. I truly understand the value of integrating immigrants into a culture and helping them immerse into their new environment. Entrepreneurial spirit is a global quality we can use to make this world a better place As my company begins to grow in Canada, I am going to be looking forward to establish relationships with Canadian entrepreneurs who are resourceful and are looking for unexpected and rewarding business challenges.
Jean Porter Mowatt
February 8, 2015 at 6:48 am
We are an emerging industry. We are building a caring business joining education and senior care with a mission to affect change in the home care industry. Internationals have the entrepreneurial spirit we seek as employees. They make up 10% of our staff.
Joe Wasylyk
March 12, 2016 at 11:03 am
I believe that immigrant entrepreneurs are under valued in Canada. Other large groups in this same category are the over 40 entrepreneurs, military entrepreneurs, and the aboriginal entrepreneurs. Since entrepreneurship is for everyone we need to create business support groups for all demographic categories who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurial projects.