Canadian Business Opportunities In Tech by Sector

For over 30 years, TBDC has been partnered with the City of Toronto to help innovative  businesses grow. The Toronto start-up ecosystem has come a long way in those 30+ years, and TBDC has worked to create a business accelerator that drives change across key Canadian industries. Here are some of the largest Canadian business opportunities we see for 2022.

Info via Toronto Global

10 Most profitable Canadian Industries (IBIS)

  1. Oil Drilling & gas Extraction ($7.8B)
  2. Real Estate Sales & Brokerage ($5.2B)
  3. Long Distance Freight Trucking ($3.6B)
  4. Engineering Services ($3.1B)
  5. Thermal Power ($2.9B) 
  6. New Car Dealers ($2.9B)
  7. Wheat Farming ($1.6B)
  8. Breweries ($1.5B)
  9. Fishing & seafood Aquaculture ($1.2B)
  10. Department Stores ($1.2B)

Outside of these lucrative industries, the Canadian government is investing in a few areas that international Start-ups can take advantage of.

1. Water Tech

The global water market was expected to reach $1 Trillion by 2020, and two of the most widely used water filtration technologies were developed in Toronto, UV disinfection and membrane filtration. In Ontario alone, there are 900 water industry companies, 300 early-stage water technology developers, and over 100 technology incubators. To see an inclusive map of Canada’s water industry, there is a great overview here

On top of the growing water tech market, Canada and its provinces have been investing heavily in water and wastewater infrastructures. Since 2016, the Government of Canada has committed over $6 Billion CAD for building water infrastructure in First Nations communities.

2. AgriTech

An increased demand for healthy and accessible food, rapidly changing supply chain issues, and climate change has created the perfect global opportunity for Agritech companies to shine. In 2021, the Ontario Government announced that it was launching a $25.5 Million budget to help farms adopt new agriculture technologies that help keep workers safe. 

On top of that, in 2022 the Government of Ontario announced another $22 Million to be invested in the Agri-Innovation program to fund more than 170 projects focusing on the food supply chain, creating safer workplaces and making operations more resilient to future disruptions. 

As a country with one of the largest amounts of available arable land, and agriculture / agri-food making up 7.4% of the Canadian GDP, international companies have headquartered their Agritech efforts in Canada. Why? To access the talent pool and a landscape that needs innovative business practices to take advantage of the short natural growing cycle. In fact, the Agrifood system provides 1 of every 9 jobs in Canada.

3. BioTech

In recent years, billions of dollars have been invested in Canadian biotech, and the Government reaffirmed its ongoing investments of over $2 Billion to grow life sciences and bio-manufacturing, clinical trials, bio-medical research, and research infrastructure. As a result, Canada has become a research powerhouse and biotech has only continued to improve even in its infancy. 

Investing in Canada’s rapidly growing biotech industry brings a new promise in manufacturing capacity, breakthrough treatments, and world-class companies that employ highly skilled people. With so many investments coming in, money is no longer the missing link — Canada needs talented people now more than ever before. The country isn’t just developing and recruiting at this point. 

Canada is actively looking to identify, educate, and create a whole new generation of scientists who will be capable of scaling and maintaining startups on their way to becoming world leaders in the industry. While the Canadian industry used to be made of only small companies, this has changed and as of 2018, a report by BioTalent Canada states that there are almost 8,000 companies with over 190,000 employees and 52,300 students. They have since generated $54 billion in annual revenues. 

However, the growth doesn’t stop there — an increase in investment from American companies has made our growth much quicker than anticipated. Canadian companies are now hiring more aggressively and have earned international credibility. As such, Canada now has four Nasdaq-listed biotech companies valued at at least $1.25 Billion.

If you’re looking for business opportunities in Canada, there is no better time than now to get started. If you have any interest in any of the industries above, be sure to book a call with the Toronto Business Development Centre to discuss how the Start-up Visa Program can help you.

4. Clean Energy & Mining

A report by Clean Energy Canada emphasizes the low carbon levels in the country, along with the many opportunities in the mining industry, where there are rich deposits of metals and minerals needed for renewable energy. For instance, the country produces 14 out of the 19 minerals and metals needed to create a solar PV panel. Thanks to Canada’s adoption of low-emission technologies and a wide mix of energy, it operates some of the lowest carbon-intensive mines in the world. Here are just a few roles that low-carbon mining will play in the future.

tech business opportunities in Canada
Canadian Business Opportunities for tech companies

TBDC is grateful to have a range of mentors with backgrounds across all major industries in Canada, many with international experience as well. Parag Datta has been a mentor with TBDC for 10 months now and is currently the head of business development for PowerON Energy Solutions. With over a decade of experience in Energy and Infrastructure, some mining consultancy experience, and an MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in Ontario, Parag was kind enough to discuss some of the opportunities he sees in the sector:

Ontario is a key global hub for clean tech. There are innovative leaders in the space who are excited to do new things which makes Ontario a fantastic breeding ground for clean energy solutions. There are great opportunities and resources out there for businesses to join the ecosystem. 

The growth of population in Ontario is surpassing the rest of the country by a vast amount. The gap between where we are in our clean energy goals vs our targets is large, complex and challenging, and technology and innovation will be a major part of the solution.

The traditional models of energy generation and delivery will need to be transformed through innovative technologies, engineering and business models – our energy systems will need to be “smart” and “tech” enabled which we are seeing broadly across other sectors as well. This opens the Clean Energy market for a very sophisticated ai market modelling to meet our needs. 

Parag thinks the biggest opportunities in the clean energy market include; 

5. Advanced Manufacturing

The advanced manufacturing industry in Canada and the wealth of our talent pool has set us up as a global leader in system integration, artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, machine vision and automation. Canada facilitates the seamless integration of Industry 4.0 solutions into manufacturing operations. According to a Global 3D Printing survey of around 900 companies in 13 countries, Canada comes in 3rd place for the highest level of 3D printing experience. 

Canada also introduced federal tax credits as part of an Accelerated Investment Incentive which includes a 100% write-off for new processing and manufacturing equipment set to take place immediately. We are also the first country within the G20 to provide a tariff-free zone for industrial manufacturers. This allows investors to import advanced equipment and machinery from parent companies without the worry of import duties. 

Furthermore, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program allows for refunds and credits on income-tax for expenses on qualified R&D activity in the country. The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) strengthens businesses in Canada’s most dynamic sectors by supporting many business activities, including: 

  • Firm expansion 
  • R&D projects
  • Collaborative demonstration projects
  • Attracting large-scale global investments
  • Decarbonization and adopting clean technology

6. Automotive

Our country is the 12th biggest producer of vehicles in the world where we had an annual production of 1.4 million vehicles in 2020. Among the largest names in the vehicle industry that have chosen to establish operations in Canada are: 

  • Honda
  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • General Motors 
  • Fiat Chrysler

These brands have tapped into our country’s wealth of talent and expertise in manufacturing. As a result, our automotive industry can reap benefits from our well-established supply chains along with easy access to the North American market through our established trade corridors.

– Electric Cars

  • The average electric car will have 75 kg of copper wires, which is around three times more than a conventional vehicle
  • Nickel, lithium, cadmium, aluminium, zinc, and cobalt are some of the essential ingredients in emerging battery technologies

– Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Replacing steel with aluminium or other lightweight and high-strength materials in the automotive, aviation, and rail industries can reduce the vehicle’s total weight. As a result, they can travel greater distances for every litre of consumption, which reduces net emissions.

In Conclusion

Canada is a land of opportunity and growth. The government is making some big investments to help push the Canadian Economy into the future. Want to expand to the North American market? TBDC is a designated partner for the Start-up Visa program by the Government of Canada. See if your startup qualifies to join our program.

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