skip to Main Content

Understanding and Maximizing Your OINP Entrepreneur Stream Score

There are various immigration streams under the OINP

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is the province-specific program meant to encourage economic immigration in the region. This program is run by the Ontario government in conjunction with the Government of Canada via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

There are various immigration streams under the OINP, including the Entrepreneur Stream, intended for those interested in starting or purchasing a business within Ontario. One of the first steps in the process is registering an Expression of Interest (EOI). The EOI is not an application. Rather, as the name implies, it is the way you make it known that you would like to be considered for the OINP Entrepreneur Stream.

In order to be eligible, you must first meet all the minimum requirements. Once you have ensured those are met, you can proceed with preparing and registering your EOI. The EOI is a self-declared scoring system based on a total of 200 points. If your EOI scores are high enough, you may receive a nomination from Ontario to officially be invited to apply, so it is important to understand the scoring criteria and how to maximize it.

Scoring for OINP Entrepreneur Stream EOI is broadly broken down into three sections, each with a maximum number of points that can be achieved to reach the total possible 200 points. The sections are as follows:

  • Human Capital Factors – 80 points
  • Investment Factors – 46 points
  • Business Concept – 74 points

Each main scoring section is further broken down to create the total score criteria.

Human Capital (80 Points)

The human capital section is focused on the individual knowledge, experience, traits, and skills of the applicant.

  • Business Experience (25 Points) You must have at least 24 months of prior business owner or senior management experience in the last 60 months. If you have been both a business owner and a senior manager, this experience may not be combined. You must have 24 months as one or the other. You should choose the role for which you have the most experience, as the scoring increases based on the number of months:
      • 24-47 months – 13 points
      • 48-59 months – 19 points
      • 60 months – 25 points
  • Past Specific Experience (35 Points) You can earn additional points if you have one or more of three certain types of prior experience. These include being in a high growth business, export-trade business, or possessing transferable skills from the same industry for which you are applying. If you have all three types of experience, you will earn the full 35 points. You will receive 25 points if you have two types and 15 points if you have one. You are not required to have any past specific experience but can gain significant extra points if you do.
  • Level of Education (10 Points) Post-secondary education is also not required but will gain points. The amount of points will depend on the length of the program to obtain the degree or certification. A two-year program will earn 5 points and a three-year or longer program will earn the full 10.
  • Language Ability (10 Points) You must be able to clearly speak one of the two official languages of Canada: English or French. Your language proficiency must be verified by an authorized testing program. The minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 4 yields 5 points, while a CLB 5+ will grant you full points.

Business Concept (74 Points)

Unlike the other sections, this section is scored by the OINP. This section will require the submission of what will resemble a traditional Executive Summary, providing high-level information and a complete overview of the business. You must earn a minimum of 37 points in this section to be considered

  • Business Model (50 Points) This section will describe the business in detail, focusing on how revenue and profits will be generated as well as how your management of the business will contribute to the potential for sustainable success. It is further broken down into:
    • Clarity and Strength of Business Concept (15 points) – Your business concept must clearly and satisfactorily address the fundamental components of your business and your role or it will receive no points. If the basic information is covered it will either receive a rating of fair or good.
        • Fair (7 points) – All components of the business, including end-to-end operations, products, and your role in the business are clearly described and addressed.
        • Good (15 points) – In addition to what is expected to reach a fair rating, you must specify why the business can thrive in Ontario specifically, operate at a level consistent with industry norms, tie your role to your experience, and (if applicable) describe the existing business and growth strategy.
      • Market Research (15 points) – In order for your business to be successful, it must make informed decisions and understand their customers. For this reason, emphasis is put on market research. Like the business concept, this category can earn a fair or good rating.
        • Fair (7 points) – Provide evidence of research activities, basic description of target market, and address opportunities and threats in the market and how they impact the business.
        • Good (15 points) – Clearly link market research to the business concept, demonstrate a keen understanding of the target market, supported by research from credible sources, and provide a thorough description of driving market factors and the business’s plan to address them.
      • Risk Factors (2 points) – Certain activities will make your business endeavor riskier. If you do not intend to use external financing, are not investing more than half of your net worth, and are not proposing to partner with a co-registrant, you will receive 2 points.
      • Significant Economic Benefit and Key Sector (10 points) – There are certain types of business activities that Ontario prefers. This includes those designated to bring significant economic benefit or those that are in a key sector. There are several economic benefit factors and sectors. See a full list here You will receive 5 points if one benefit or key sector applies to your business and 10 points if one benefit and one key sector applies.
      • Investment Allocation (10 points) – The way the investment will be allocated can also earn a fair or good ranking for a maximum of 10 points.
        • Fair (5 points) – Provide a basic breakdown of the investment, which may lack clarity, and give some information on how it will contribute to measurably improving the business.
        • Good (10 points) – You will earn full points if you give a detailed, clear description of the investments as well as a defined plan of how it will contribute to the growth of the business.
  • Business Location (10 Points) – The OINP encourages potential applicants to focus on lower population locations. Locations with a population over 175,000 receive 0 points, locations with a population under 100,000 receive 10 points, and populations in between receive 5 points.
  • Job Creation (14 Points) – In order to receive the highest job creation score, you must create 5 or more jobs. You will need to ensure at least 2 of those jobs having a National Occupation Classification (NOC) of 0, A or B within the first 20 months of operation. The score is broken down between these two factors, being calculated as follows:
    • Total number of jobs (7 points)
      • 1 outside GTA OR 2 inside GTA – 3 points
      • 3-4 jobs – 5 points
      • 5 or more jobs – 7 points
    • Job classification (7 points)
      • 0 NOC 0, A, or B jobs – 0 points
      • 1 NOC 0, A, or B job – 5 points
      • 2 or more NOC 0, A, or B jobs – 7 points

Investment Factors (46 Points)

You must also self-report financial information related to your personal assets and the business investment.

  • Net Worth (15 Points) – The net worth requirements vary depending on whether or not the business will be located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The government wants to keep development within Toronto competitive and encourage development in other areas of the province, so the minimum net worth within the GTA is higher than the rest of the province, at $800,000. Areas located outside the GTA (or Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications sector regardless of location) are only $400,000. Higher net worth brackets will yield more favorable scores.
    • Business located within the GTA:
      • $800,000 to $2,499,999 – 5 points
      • $2,500,000 or more – 10 points
    • Business outside the GTA (or ICT/Dig Com):
        • $400,000 to $999,999 – 10 points
        • $1,000,000 or more – 15 points
  • Investment Amount (25 Points) –Minimum eligible investment requirements also vary based on area but in all cases, you must control at least one-third of the total business equity.
    • Business located within the GTA:
      • $600,000 to $1,499,999 – 10 points
      • $1,500,000 to $2,999,999 – 15 points
      • $3,000,000 or more – 20 points
    • Business outside the GTA (or ICT/Dig Com):
      • $200,000 to $499,999 – 15 points
      • $500,000 to $799,999 – 20 points
      • $800,000 or more – 25 points
  • Business-Related Visits (6 Points) – If you have made a business-related visit within the last year (from the date of registration) you will earn an additional 6 points. If you are purchasing a business, you must make a business-related visit.

Based on the scoring criteria above, there are certain things you can do to maximize your score and increase the chance of being invited to apply. This includes:

  • Aligning the type of business and your role to your experience
  • Enhancing your English/French to CLB 5+
  • Selecting a low population location
  • Aiming at a key sector, if possible
  • Developing a detailed, organized business model description
  • Conducting thorough market research that clearly ties into the business concept
  • Creating NOC 0, A or B jobs, if possible

Regardless how strong of a candidate you may be, it is still advisable to contact an immigration lawyer to ensure your intended immigration path and business plan are the most advantageous for your specific goals and circumstances. Although we at Joorney are not immigration professionals, we refer to many within our network. Our professionals at Joorney are able to help you flesh out your business idea, conduct market research, draft your immigration business plan, or summarize your business concept.

Latest News: More News
Back To Top