Business Stream

The Business Stream is for foreign nationals who want to start a business in the NWT, purchase an existing business based here, or invest in and operate an existing business based here.

In the NWT, you can expect no wait-list for your application, faster processing times, and program staff to help you through the process from start to finish.


Do you Qualify?

When applying to the Business Stream, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicants must commit to investing:
    • A minimum of $200,000 CDN equity* into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • A minimum of $100,000 CDN equity* into starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  2. You must demonstrate you own at least 33.3% of the business, unless your personal equity investment is at least $1,000,000 CDN, in which case you may own less.
  3. You must also provide proof that you have a personal net worth of:
    • At least $500,000 CDN if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • At least $250,000 CDN if starting or buying a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  1. You must demonstrate that they have achieved a level of proficiency of 4 against the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB 4) in English or the equivalent language level against the Niveaux de competence linquistique Canadiens (NCLC) in French upon application.
    • Please note that the Nominee Program will only accept test results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) if submitting results in English, and the Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) if submitting results in French. Test results must be no older than two (2) years at the time of application.
  2. You must demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy
  3. You must demonstrate reasonable communication skills appropriate to conduct business in the Northwest Territories and to integrate into the local community;
  1. You need to have the necessary experience and education to implement the business plan successfully
  1. You must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to start and operate a business and support yourself and any dependents for the duration of the applicant’s Business Performance Agreement;
  1. You can not have an active application with any other provincial or territorial nominee program; not have an active application with any other stream of the Nominee Program in the Northwest Territories; and not be a Refugee Claimant
  1. And, of course, you must be ready and willing to settle full-time right here in the NWT!

Jingling Liu – Education and Business Success in Yellowknife

How to apply

If you are interested and think you meet the criteria, download the full application guidelines or contact a member of our team to discuss your application.

Here’s what to expect if you decide to apply:

  1. First, there is a self-assessment where you determine if you meet the minimum eligibility criteria, as listed above.
  2. That’s followed by a trip to the NWT for an exploratory visit and face-to-face interview.
  3. After your visit, we conduct a pre-screening of your business concept and evaluate your interview results. If you are successful, we will formally invite you to apply and submit your application and business plan.
  4. Your application is then reviewed against the programs eligibility criteria outlines in the guidelines. If it is approved, we will enter into a Business Performance Agreement. The Business Performance Agreement is a two-year legal agreement between the applicant and the Government of the Northwest Territories, outlining the obligations you must fulfill in order to receive a nomination certificate

After that, you will be able to develop and run your new business! If successful, you are nominated for Canadian Permanent Residency.


The application and assessment process for the NTNP is as follows:

1.Self-assessment and initial investigations;

2.Further investigations and face-to-face interview(s); (Initial Registration and Pre-Interview Submissions on an online NTNP account)


Upon invitation to apply:

3.Formal application; (Formal Application Submission on an online NTNP account)

4.Application review;


If approved:

5.Approval and the Business Performance Agreement;

6.Developing the business (Arrival Report and Business Performance Agreement Interim Report Submissions on an online NTNP account); and

7.Nomination (Final Report Submission on an online NTNP account).


 Prospective applicants must take into consideration that the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment reserves the right to deny an application, at any step in the application process, when it determines that a prospective applicant is, for any reason, ineligible. Prospective applicants must also be aware that decisions on applications are final and there is no appeal process.

Jenny Qu – Uniting her Family, Achieving as an Entrepreneur in Yellowknife


Extra Resources