Business/Investment Eligibility

Eligible Business

The BC PNP will only consider applications to establish or purchase and expand a business that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. The business must be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits from active income through the provision of products and/or services.
  2. The business must have good potential for sustained commercial viability.
  3. The business must have the potential to create significant economic benefits for British Columbia. For example, the benefits may contribute to:
    • increasing value-added manufacturing, processing or primary resource activity
    • increasing exports of goods or services
    • increasing destination tourism
    • increasing R&D/technology commercialization
    • developing innovative and creative approaches to traditional businesses
    • transferring technology, skills and specialized know-how to the province
    • servicing an underserved local or regional market
    • succession plan buy-outs where eligible businesses are purchased from retiring owners

Ineligible Business

Applications will NOT be approved where the BC PNP is not satisfied that the proposed business has the potential to be commercially viable in British Columbia. In addition, the BC PNP will NOT approve applications for the following type of businesses:

  • Bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based businesses
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Coin operated laundries
  • Automated car wash operations
  • Sale of used goods (excluding collectibles, or where the business provides value-added services such as repairs, refurbishing, or recycling)
  • Real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage
  • Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services, or in the provision of sexually oriented services
  • Any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the program or the Government of British Columbia into disrepute

In addition, applications will NOT be considered for the following types of businesses in the Vancouver metropolitan area (PDF – 316KB) or the Abbotsford metropolitan area (PDF – 290KB):

  • Convenience stores
  • Video and DVD rental stores
  • Gasoline service stations
  • Personal dry cleaning services

Investment in the Business

If you are buying the shares of an existing operating business no more than two thirds of the applicable minimum personal investment can apply to the purchase of shares and you must acquire ownership and control of at least one third of the business. The shares you buy to purchase the business must be common full-voting shares and must not have a redemption option.

If you are buying the assets of an existing business no more than two thirds of the applicable personal investment can be applied to the purchase of these assets.

In addition, at least one-third of the required applicable minimum investment for the category must be directed towards expansion and/or improvement of the existing business that you are purchasing.

The applicable minimum personal investment can not be applied to the purchase of real estate unless you can satisfy the BC PNP that the real estate is essential to the business, in which case no more than two thirds of this investment can be applied for this purpose.

The applicable minimum personal investment can be applied to the following types of business costs, provided that the amounts are reasonable for the business involved:

  • Machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures
  • Leasehold improvements
  • Inventory
  • Patents and licenses
  • Franchise purchase fees
  • Allowable real estate and franchises
  • Initial promotion and marketing
  • Other start-up expenses, such as incorporation and permit fees, legal and other professional fees

If, because of the nature of your business, you are unable to apply the full amount of the minimum required personal equity investment to these types of expenditures, you may apply the balance to wages, building rent and other normal operating expenses (excluding any payments to yourself or family members) during the first six months of operations if you are establishing a new business, or three months if you are buying a franchise or an existing business.