Trying to Bring a Business to Canada?


By Marcelo Andrade | Published 20/02/2018

Today we are going to share our experience about a very familiar story to Brazilian entrepreneurs trying to internationalize. After making a decision that Canada is the right place for their new business endeavour, most believe that two things are enough to succeed: Contacts & Resources. But is that really all they need?


Companies tend to believe that if they are introduced to the right potential business partners and institutions, business will soon follow.

These introductions can happen in a number of different ways: one-on-one meetings at international trade shows or trade missions; direct introductions by the government, chambers of commerce or matchmakers; qualified lists of potential clients, etc.


In Canada, there is abundant help available to entrepreneurs, be it from different levels of government, agencies, incubators, accelerators, regional investment attraction companies, matchmakers. All of them do a great job and provide a large amount of very detailed information on “how-to” do practically everything to do business in Canada.

So, if you have the Contacts who could do business with you, and if you have the Information and know how to get things done, it is reasonable to come to the conclusion that this would be enough to successfully do business in Canada.

But, unfortunately, this is not what evidence shows. According to our experience observing and working over the last 10 years with companies in the Brazil-Canada space, we observe that only about 2-5% of companies that take active steps towards internationalizing into Canada (have Contacts and Information) actually end up conducting any significant business.

What typically happens is that in the first six months you initiate your contacts, things seem to go well. After that, things get stationary and do not evolve. We’ve seen this happen a lot – in at least 95% of the cases.

The reasons root back to a very different business environment that shapes the way Brazilian entrepreneurs think in contrast with reality they end up finding in Canada.

Business environment

The business environment and the business culture in Brazil are very distinct. What is a problem in one country is very different from what is a problem in the other, and the key success factors in Brazil are very different from what such factors are in Canada.

We see clearly that, for those business cases that do not materialize, clear reasons can be traced back to cultural differences in the way of doing business. This is why there is such a low conversion rate (interested companies converting into successful ones) of Brazilian businesses coming to Canada.


Marcelo Andrade

Marcelo is the founder of Lucalex, a Toronto-based company founded in 2012 to structure business opportunities in Brazil and Canada. Contact information:

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Comentários sobre este post

  1. Oi Marcelo, muito interessante seu texto. Fiquei curiosa pra saber mais sobre os case de sucesso e os que não deram certo. Você dispõe de algum outro material informativo?

    Patricia Rios

  2. Gostaria de saber possibilidades de investir no Canadá

    • Ola Mauro, ha oportunidades muito variadas para investor no Canada. De forma geral, as taxas de juros sao muito menores que no Brasil, entao investimentos financeiros costumam render muito menos que no Brasil (mas tambem ha menos risco). Para investimentos nao-financeiros, como adquirir propriedade ou empresas, passa a ser necessario aprofundar dialogos com advogados de imigracao a fim de alinhar a situacao perante a imigracao com os investimentos. Marcelo Andrade.

      Leila Monteiro Lins
  3. Congrats Marcelo for the great work – and Discovery for the article!

    Paola Saad
  4. In your opinion, what specific cultural difference (s) may be the reason behind unsuccessful attempts of Brazilians doing business in Canada?

    Demilson Batista Jr
    • Hi Demilson, the main reasons behind lack of success in Canada is to operate under the same assumptions that worked in Brazil. Have in mind that operating a business in Brazil is very hard, but it’s pretty easy in Canada. On the other hand, finding clients and making sales in Brazil are not too hard, but selling in Canada is very difficult. In Canada, sales have to be very targeted and customized. A lot more effort has to go into understanding specific needs of the clients, and a lot more pre-sales planning is required. Marcelo Andrade.

      Leila Monteiro Lins
  5. Me and my husband had a shop at Brasília International Airport for eight years.
    My daughter and her husband decided to lieve at Toronto definitely, so we would like to live near them and we are thinking how we can move our business to Canadá. Do you think is it possible? Is it difficult? Marcelo Andrade.

    Ilza Domingues
    • Hello Ilza, please contact Marcelo, the founder of Lucalex, a Toronto-based company founded in 2012 to structure business opportunities in Brazil and Canada. His email is:

      Leila Monteiro Lins
    • Hi Ilza, it is certainly possible to bring a Brazilian business to Canada. The difficulty will depend on many factors, including the business model, acceptance in the Canadian market and implications surrounding your work visa or immigration status. Marcelo Andrade.

      Leila Monteiro Lins

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