Designated organizations – such as Business Incubators – are business groups that have been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups.
Organizations choose which business proposals to review. If one decides to review yours, it will assess the potential of your proposal and whether or not it will succeed. Each organization has its own intake process for proposals and criteria used to assess them.
If an organization chooses to support your business idea, it will give you a Letter of Support.
To apply for the Start-up Visa Program, your business idea or venture must get the support of one of the designated organizations listed below.
You must be accepted into one of these programs:
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Canada Accelerator Co (d/b/a HIGHLINE)
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- INcubes Inc.
- Innovate Calgary
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Istuary Idea Labs
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- Launch Academy
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- NEXT Canada
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Centre
- Spring Activator
- Toronto Business Development Centre
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
Top questions about Start-up Visa
Your application to come to Canada through the Start-up Visa program will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. Four requirements must be met. You must :
- have a Letter of Support from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator
- meet the ownership requirements for a qualifying business
- get scores of at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four categories for either English or French, and
- have an adequate amount of money to settle and provide for the cost of living prior to earning an income.
If these requirements are met, your application will be reviewed based on CIC's standard admissibility criteria, including health, criminality and security. CIC may request an independent peer review to ensure that due diligence was performed by the designated organization that issued your Letter of Support.
You will need to contact an organization that has been designated as eligible to participate in the Start-up visa Program.
You will need to convince a designated organization that you have a business idea that is worth supporting.
If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a Letter of Support. This is proof required by CIC to show that the angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator is supporting your business idea.
No, you are not required to invest any of your own money. The minimum investment required is an investment that comes from a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group that has been named as a participant in the program.
Disclosure of funds
Failure of your business will not affect your permanent resident status. We recognize that not every business will succeed and this program is designed so that the risk is shared between the public and private sector.