Do you want to register and start a business in Saskatchewan, Canada? If YES, here is a 14-step guide on how to open a business in Saskatchewan as a foreigner. Saskatchewan happens to be one of the leading provinces in Canada that provides an ideal platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow their business.

Saskatchewan presently enjoys strong economic growth; business owners enjoy low taxes and low business costs. Saskatchewan offers a platform that gives room for excellence in researching and innovation and of course you will enjoy top quality lifestyle as an entrepreneur in Saskatchewan.

Mining is a major industry in the province, with Saskatchewan being the world’s largest exporter of potash and uranium. Oil and natural gas production is also a very important part of Saskatchewan’s economy, although the oil industry is larger. Among Canadian provinces, only Alberta exceeds Saskatchewan in overall oil production.

Small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) account for 98.9 percent of the more than 150,000 businesses operating in Saskatchewan. Small businesses provide most of the jobs in the province. In 2018, small businesses employed 31 percent of the province’s workers. In 2018, small businesses accounted for 24 percent of Saskatchewan’s GDP.

Please note that starting up a new business in Saskatchewan requires business licensing, permits and business registration (online). Register your business, get permits and licenses, and learn about business costs and support. If you are interested in registering and starting a business in Saskatchewan, here are the steps you are expected to follow;

14 Steps on How to Register and Start a Business in Saskatchewan

Step 1: Choose a Workable Business idea or Niche

No serious entrepreneur registers a business without first settling for a workable business idea or niche in an industry. In essence, the first step that you are expected to take is to come up with a workable business idea; an idea that can get the support of the Government and of course that can attract clients.

For example, if you are not too sure whether starting a Marijuana dispensary business is legal in Canada why go ahead to choose such business idea? You must ensure that your business idea falls in line with what is acceptable in Canada and one that you can easily secure the necessary permits and license to operate legally.

Step 2: Conduct Your Feasibility Studies and Market Survey

Irrespective of the country or city that you decide to start a business, the one important step that you are expected to take is to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey. In other words, once you have settled for a business idea, the next step is to conduct feasibility studies and market survey.

With the result from your feasibility studies and market survey, you will be able to make informed decision, especially as it relates to the type of business to settle for, the location for your office, the demographic composition of your location, your competition, how to source raw materials or goods and loads of other factors that can either make or mar your business.

Step 3: Choose a Catchy Name for Your Business

After coming up with a workable business idea and of course having conducted your market survey and feasibility studies, the next step is to choose a catchy name for your business. When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.

Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business. Before choosing a name for your business, it won’t cost you anything to go online and check out the names of leading brands in the industry you intend starting a business in so as to be properly guided when choosing your own name.

Step 4: Write a Workable Business Plan

No matter the type of business or size of business you intend starting in Saskatchewan, it is a wise decision to first write a good business plan before taking any action. In order to successfully run a business, you need to have a good and workable business plan in place.

A Business plan is the blue print that is needed to successfully run a business; with a workable business plan in place, you will reduce the trial and error approach of doing business. You will be able to manage your business with purpose and perhaps precision; you will know what to do per time and how to handle challenges, growth and expansion.

So if you want to start your own business in Saskatchewan, you are required to write a detailed business plan that can pass reality test when subjected to it; you should work with the facts, figures and other indices in the industry. Your business plan should outline and cover strategies on how you intend to manage your business.

The rule of thumb in writing a business plan is to try as much as possible to be realistic and never to over-project when putting figures on income and profits et al. As a matter of fact, it is safer to underestimate when writing a business plan so that you won’t be so disappointed when reality sets in.

These are the key areas that should be covered in your business plan;

Executive summary and Company description: you are expected to write about the concept of your business, descriptions of your company, your company’s vision statement, mission statement and where your company will be located and also if you intend selling out franchise or opening outlets in different cities in the United States of America and in other parts of the world.

Other key components that should not be missing in your brewery business plan are product offering, SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, marketing and sales analysis / strategies, target market, market goals, pricing, costing and financial projection, publicity and advertising strategy, expansion and growth strategies, budget and start – up capital generation et al.

Step 5: Choose a Legal Entity for Your Business

If you choose to start your business in Saskatchewan, it is important to note that there are only four basic forms of business ownership or legal entity you can build your business structure on and they are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and cooperative.

What you intend achieving and the type of business you want to build are some of the key factors that will help you make a choice on a legal entity to choose for your business.

Having said that, here are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes. In Saskatchewan, you can choose to start your business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Some of the advantages of upgrading a business from limited liability company (LLC) to a ‘C’ corporation is that it will give you the opportunity to grow the business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.

Step 6: Register Your Business Name

The Saskatchewan Corporate Registry provides services including: incorporating legal entities; registering sole proprietorships or partnerships; maintaining a registry of names; and enforcing registration and compliance requirements.

Square One, Saskatchewan’s Business Resource Centre, provides programs and services to assist and guide Saskatchewan entrepreneurs through startup and management of their business. Square One also offers SKBIZGRID, an online directory of organizations, networks, programs and information available to assist small businesses from startup and financing to succession planning.

BizPaL (Business Permits and Licences) is an online service that helps you find the permits and licences you may need to start or operate your business. Programs and services are also available for First Nations, Métis and northern businesses in Saskatchewan.

Canada Business Network provides information on the process for starting a business, customizable by province and type of business. They promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and provide assistance through a network of service centres across Canada. There is a centre in each province and territory working with partners in their region to offer services to entrepreneurs.

Please Note: All businesses operating in Saskatchewan are required to be licensed or registered with the Ministry of Finance for PST purposes. Saskatchewan is one of the first provinces to provide this 24-hour service and the new Online PST Registry.

Step 7: Source for New Business Financing

One of the reasons why Saskatchewan is considered as of the top destinations when it comes to doing business is because there are financial institutions that are established to help finance new businesses. So, the next step you are expected to take if you have successfully registered your business is source for new business financing. The only reason why you should ignore this step is if you already have the required startup capital.

Step 8: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Please note that licensing for business in Saskatchewan is different from business registration and it is the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division that handles the application process. If you want to apply for business license, you would need to go along with photo identification, proof of work status and a copy of the registration along with notarized controlling interest forms.

If your business can generate health implications then you would need a business license to operate in Saskatchewan. Businesses such as food trucks, hospitals, labs, hairdressers, pet shops, grocery stores, holistic centers, secondhand shops, nightclubs and restaurants need licenses.

If you are not sure on the type of business license and permit to apply for, then you should visit Industry Canada’s BizPaL. They have useful tool for finding what federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licenses you will need to do business in any province in Canada. As a matter of fact, BizPaL will provide a personalized list of the business documents you need for all levels of government.

Step 9: Register for the Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)

The next step that you are expected to take is to ensure that your register for the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST). If your business’s gross income exceeds $30,000, it is mandatory to register for GST/HST. (Note that this Small Supplier exemption doesn’t apply to all businesses: taxi and limousine services, for instance, always have to register for GST/HST.)

In order to be in the good books of the law when operating your business in Saskatchewan as a new business that is not making up $30,000, it is still to your advantage to register for GST/HST immediately because of Input Tax Credits, which are basically your way of getting back the GST/HST your business has paid out on purchases for business use.

Step 10: Register for Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

The next step is to ensure that you register for provincial sales tax (PST). For example, if you choose to start your business in Saskatchewan or British Columbia or Manitoba, it is compulsory to register as a collector of provincial sales tax (PST). But, if you decide to start your business in Quebec, you will need to register for Quebec Sales Tax (QST). Please note that some provinces have not harmonized their sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax (GST) and in those provinces, you will also have to register to collect and remit the appropriate provincial tax.

Step 11: Purchase Business Insurance

The rule of business engagement in Saskatchewan is that you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

You might want to consider buying some or all of these insurance policy covers for your business; General insurance, Health/Medical insurance, Liability insurance, Workers compensation, Overhead expense disability insurance, Business owner’s policy group insurance and Payment protection insurance.

Please note that if you are going to operate your business from home, then you might want to learn about home-based business insurance and how to save money on the cost of business insurance.

Step 12: Lease or Rent and ideal Office Location

Another important step to follow when establishing a business in Saskatchewan is to choose an ideal location for your office. When it comes to renting an office facility in Saskatchewan, the nature of business you want to do should serve as a guide. Besides, you would need your business license and permit as part of the document to be tendered before any landlord or realtor will sign any leasing agreement with your business in Saskatchewan.

Step 13: Hire Employees

The only reason why you should ignore this step is if you want to run a one-man business. If you want to operate a business in Saskatchewan, it is mandatory to hire only those that are legally permitted to work in Saskatchewan – Canada or else your business might be fined or shut down.

If you hire employees, your business will probably need to register with the Worker’s Compensation Board in your province. You can find out more about hiring employees, employment standards, E.I. and other employee issues from the appropriate authority in your province if you are not sure of how the process works.

Step 14: Advertise and Market Your Business

If you choose to start a business in Saskatchewan, you can be rest assured that there are competitors waiting to compete with you for the available market share. So, if you want your business to do well, then you must fashion out ways to advertise and market your products or services.

The truth is that if your business or brand is always in the eyes of the public, they will be tempted to do buy from you. You can use both print and electronic media to promote your business, but you must ensure you check up with the government of your country to know the rules and regulations governing the advertising of the type of business you are operating.

In conclusion, here are some of the steps that you should follow to legally register and start up your business in Saskatchewan. Please note that the steps are not cast in stone, hence you should make enquiries from the appropriate authorities in Saskatchewan.

Ajaero Tony Martins