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The Startup Visa Program Canada

The Startup Visa Program is a groundbreaking initiative designed to attract and retain innovative entrepreneurs from around the world. By offering a pathway to permanent residency, countries with such programs aim to boost their economies, create jobs, and foster a culture of innovation. In this article, we'll delve into the details of the Startup Visa Program, its benefits, and address some frequently asked questions.

What is the Startup Visa Program? The Startup Visa Program is a special visa category designed for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish, operate, and scale their startups in a new country. Recognizing the potential of global talent, many countries have introduced this program to attract innovative minds, drive economic growth, and compete in the global market.

Benefits of the Startup Visa Program

  1. Pathway to Permanent Residency: Many countries offer a clear path from the Startup Visa to permanent residency, ensuring long-term stability for entrepreneurs.

  2. Access to Resources: Entrepreneurs often gain access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

  3. Economic Growth: The program attracts investment and creates job opportunities for the local population.

FAQs 1. Who is eligible for the Startup Visa Program? Eligibility criteria vary by country but generally include a viable business idea, potential for job creation, and sufficient funds to support the startup and living expenses.

2. How long does the visa last? The duration of the visa varies. In some countries, it's initially granted for a year or two and can be extended based on the success of the startup.

3. Is there a minimum investment requirement? Some countries have a minimum investment requirement, while others assess the viability and potential of the business idea.

4. Can family members accompany the entrepreneur? In most countries, immediate family members (spouse and children) can accompany the entrepreneur under the Startup Visa Program.

5. What happens if the startup fails? Policies vary, but many countries offer a grace period or an alternative visa category for entrepreneurs whose startups don't succeed.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Startup Visa Program in Canada

Canada's Startup Visa Program is designed to attract innovative entrepreneurs from around the world, offering them a pathway to permanent residency. If you're considering launching your startup in Canada, here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Determine Eligibility Before applying, ensure you meet the following criteria:

  • Business Viability: Have a qualifying business where each applicant holds at least 10% of the voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the corporation, and together with the designated organization, hold more than 50% of the total voting rights.

  • Language Proficiency: Achieve a minimum score in either English or French for speaking, reading, writing, and listening based on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5.

  • Sufficient Funds: Demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents upon arrival in Canada.

2. Obtain a Letter of Support from a Designated Organization You must get a designated organization (venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator) to agree to invest in or support your startup. Once they decide to back your business idea, they will give you a Letter of Support.

Designated organizations

Venture capital funds

You must get at least one of these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $200,000:

  • 7 Gate Ventures

  • Alt Ventures

  • Apex Innovative Investments Ventures

  • Arete Pacific Tech Ventures (VCC) Corp

  • BCF Ventures

  • BDC Venture Capital

  • Celtic House Venture Partners

  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP

  • First Fund

  • Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP

  • INP Capital

  • iNovia Capital Inc.

  • Intrinsic Venture Capital

  • Lumira Ventures

  • Invest Nova Scotia

  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds

  • Real Ventures

  • Red Leaf Capital Corp

  • Relay Ventures

  • ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.

  • Tangentia Ventures

  • Top Renergy Inc.

  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership

  • Version One Ventures

  • WhiteHaven Venture

  • Westcap Management Ltd.

  • Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) VC Fund

Angel investor groups

You must get one or more investors connected to these groups to agree to invest a minimum of $75,000:

  • Canadian International Angel Investors

  • Ekagrata Inc.

  • Golden Triangle Angel Network

  • Keiretsu Forum Canada

  • Oak Mason Investments Inc.

  • TenX Angel Investors Inc.

  • VANTEC Angel Network Inc.

  • York Angel Investors Inc.

Business incubators

You must be accepted into one of these programs:

  • Alacrity Foundation

  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

    • Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator

    • Food Processing Development Centre

  • Alberta IoT Association

  • Altitude Accelerator

  • Bhive

  • Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)

  • Brilliant Catalyst

  • Creative Destruction Lab

  • DMZ Ventures

  • Empowered Startups Ltd.

  • Extreme Innovations

  • Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre

  • Genesis Centre

  • Highline BETA Inc.

  • Invest Nova Scotia

  • Innovate Calgary

  • Innovation Cluster - Peterborough and the Kawarthas

  • Innovation Factory

  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara

  • Intrinsic Innovations

  • Invest Ottawa

  • ISM Arts & Culture Ltd

  • Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch


  • LatAm Startups

  • Launch Academy - Vancouver

  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.

  • Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship

  • NEXT Canada

  • Niagara Business & Innovation Fund

  • North Forge East Ltd.

  • North Forge Technology Exchange

  • Pacific Technology Ventures

  • Platform Calgary

  • Pycap

  • Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel

  • Red Leaf Capital Corp

  • Roseview Global Incubator

  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre

  • Spring Activator

  • The DMZ at Ryerson University

  • Think8 Global Institute

  • TiE Toronto

  • Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)

  • Treefrog

  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)

  • University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery

  • ventureLAB Innovation Centre


  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre

  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

  • YSpace (York University)

3. Complete the Application Package Download and fill out the necessary forms from the official Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. This will include:

  • Generic Application Form for Canada

  • Additional Dependants/Declaration

  • Business Immigration Programs Documentation

  • Additional Family Information

  • Use of a Representative (if applicable)

4. Pay the Application Fees You'll need to pay:

  • The processing fee for you and any family members coming with you.

  • The Right of Permanent Residence Fee.

  • Biometrics fee (if applicable).

5. Submit the Application Ensure you've included all necessary documents, including the Letter of Support and proof of payment for your fees. Mail your completed application to the appropriate address provided in the application guide.

6. Wait for the Review IRCC will review your application to ensure:

  • It's complete and includes all the necessary documents.

  • You've paid your application fees.

  • You meet the eligibility requirements.

If your application is incomplete, it will be returned to you.

7. Attend an Interview (if required) You may be asked to attend an interview at your local Canadian consulate or embassy.

8. Receive a Decision If your application is approved, you'll receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if you're from a country that requires a visa to enter Canada).

9. Move to Canada Upon arrival in Canada, you'll need to present your COPR and passport to the Canadian immigration officials. After a successful review, you'll be granted entry as a permanent resident.

10. Launch Your Startup Once in Canada, it's time to launch and grow your startup. Remember to keep your designated organization updated about your business's progress.

Conclusion The Startup Visa Program in Canada offers a fantastic opportunity for global entrepreneurs to bring their innovative ideas to a thriving startup ecosystem. By following the steps outlined above and ensuring all requirements are met, you can embark on an exciting entrepreneurial journey in Canada.

Note: Always consult with immigration lawyers or official government websites for detailed and updated information on the Startup Visa Program in Canada.

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