Richmond incubator helps newcomers start businesses in Canada

A business incubator has been launched to help immigrants set up businesses in Canada and to help Canadians to do business in China.

Guozheng Liu, founder of Sincubato at 4380 Agar Drive, hopes this initiative will help newcomers avoid the difficulties he went through when he first tried to start a business in Canada.

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“I moved to Montreal in 2013 (from China) as a skilled immigrant. I wanted to start my own business and thought it would just be the same as starting a business in China, but I was wrong,” Liu told the Richmond News.

“I didn’t know there was a waiting list for leasing, I didn’t know which accountant was good, I didn’t know if my business idea suited the Canadian market...No one helped me, so I just acted recklessly, and the result was I failed, badly.”

Liu later learned “from his experience of failure” and successfully launched a number of businesses in the food and travel industries in Vancouver. He now has more than 20 employees and wants to share his experiences.

According to Liu, the incubator will provide a shared working office and law and tax services as well as helping the business owner apply for a business license, conduct market research and look for investments.

The incubator will also provide help to Canadian entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in China, according to Liu.

“People might think they know a lot of Chinese people in Vancouver, but I always warn business people, Chinese people here are different from Chinese people in China,” he said.

“Chinese people here, more or less, can speak some English, and they understand Canadian culture and the way of doing business. But in China, it’s a completely different story.”

He said one of his current business partners once went to China but didn’t say a word in more than a week.

“His friend was busy and went away during that time, and no one else around him could understand English... It sounds like a joke, but it actually happened.”

The incubator will organize trips for Canadian businesses to China, and will allow Chinese business people to come to Canada, to evaluate the market and introduce them to potential local partners, Liu added.

“Many people say Canada is a boring place and there is no opportunity. I think that’s all nonsense,” said Liu.

“I never had a business before I came here, where I actually had the opportunity to do it. People do need some help to start, especially newcomers.”

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