Portrait Entrepreneur | Thierry Konan Kouadio

In both cases, starting a business and migrating is a brave decision. Going through both is a formidable challenge.

In this series of interviews, we invite you to learn more about some of the entrepreneurs we have accompanied in their immigration and business creation projects.

Who are you, and what do you do professionally?

I am 43 years old, married and have three children. I live in the Ivory Coast, and I am a computer engineer. Thus, I have worked on some IT projects in different companies. In December 2015, I decided to start my own company, and in March 2016, I formally founded Primum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In this IT company, we offer integration of business management solutions. We do specific mobile and web development with technical and functional consultants, and afterwards, we offer post-installation technical support. 

What is your project in Quebec? How did the project in Ivory Coast propel it?

After research, I had the idea to create a platform that allows specialized CTO technicians in Quebec to offer their services to SMEs and start-ups. 

In Quebec, there is a labour shortage in the technology sector. Most experienced CTOs tend to go to large structures, SMEs, and start-ups struggling to access these professionals who could help them propel their projects.

So we will help them access these technicians without hiring them full-time. We offer a time-share CTO with an hourly rate. 

The process is as follows: we conduct an audit to understand the needs of the SME or start-up. Then we provide a pool of experienced technicians who can meet their technical needs. Later, the company or start-up chooses the one that suits them best. 

Why Canada and why Quebec?

My interest in Canada goes back a long way. A few years ago, I tried to immigrate as a skilled worker. However, I had a constraint that did not allow me to pursue the process. I set up my business in the Ivory Coast a few years later. I wondered if there was a program to which I could apply with an entrepreneur status in Quebec. This would allow me to immigrate, contribute to the Quebec economy through business creation, and continue my entrepreneurial journey.

During my research, there was the English-speaking side, notably Ottawa and Toronto. There was also French-speaking Quebec. Even though I can speak English quite well, I wanted to go where I could put everything I know to good use.

I chose Montreal because it is a metropolis and everything about information technology is quite advanced.

The educational institutions there are internationally renowned and among the best in the world.

If the training is good, we have staff with the skills to meet market expectations.  

In addition, operating costs, for example, energy and rent, are very competitive. Among other advantages, the government encourages the inclusion of innovative companies, and the business environment is very positive. There are also incubators, such as BridgeMTL, that support the development of my project. This is critical, especially as an immigrant because this support is key to the project’s success.

How did Conexa help you in all your endeavours?

As soon as I had the idea, I started searching on the internet and found Conexa. From the first interview, I immediately understood that on the other side of the screen, there were professionals who understood my project. They noticed the strong innovative potential of my business project, sent the program, and I did not hesitate to start working together.

I had a lot of support for the administrative steps, such as the work permit and the incorporation of my business. For the business plan, they helped me align it with the Quebec market.

What was the reaction of your family when you shared this immigration project?

The fact that I already have entrepreneurial experience and the support of Conexa is very reassuring.

My wife is rushing to make this happen as soon as possible. We will soon share the news with our three children, and we know they will be delighted.

Quality of life and professional and family development are important. For the education of our children, coming to Quebec will be an opportunity to ensure better education and a better quality of life.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to immigrate and do business in Canada, but doesn’t know where to start?

I consider that the difficulty is to have a point of contact on the spot. I advise looking as quickly as possible for an incubator, a partner or a well-connected person who is already there. Afterwards, I would show them the official channels so they don’t take steps clandestinely.

Having the right contacts prevents the entrepreneur from being in the dark and makes things easier. If you want to start up, I would say just go for it and make it happen.

Starting a business in Canada made easy.

Starting a business is never easy, especially for entrepreneurs who want to do it abroad. So, if you are a serial entrepreneur who wants to establish a business structure in Canada as a foreigner, use the guidelines above to do so successfully.

Still have questions? Fill out our form and get personalized feedback to verify your eligibility to start a business in Canada.