June 7, 2017

Business Incubators

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.

Designated Business Incubators
Designated Angel Investor Groups
Designated Venture Capital Funds

Top questions about Start-up Visa

How can I qualify to get a 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.

What do I need to do to get support from an investor organization?

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.

How do I show that I have the support of Canadian investors?

The designated organization will give you a Letter of Support once you reach an agreement. You need to include this letter when you submit your application to CIC.

The designated organization will also send a Commitment Certificate directly to CIC. CIC will use both your Letter of Support and the organization's Commitment Certificate to assess your application.

What is the minimum investment that I would need to apply for a start-up visa?

You must secure a minimum investment of $200,000 if the investment comes from a designated Canadian venture capital fund.

You must secure a minimum investment of $75,000 if the investment comes from a designated Canadian angel investor group.

You do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, you must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Will I have to invest my own money if I want to apply for a start-up visa?

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.

What happens if I receive investment support from multiple designated venture capital funds or angel investor organizations?

Receiving support from multiple designated venture capital funds or angel investor groups is known as syndication. If you have syndicated support, then all investment entities involved in the syndication must be identified. Only one Commitment Certificate will be sent electronically to CIC and one Letter of Support will be provided to you.

As soon as a designated venture capital firm invests in your business, then the minimum total investment amount that must be invested in your business is $200,000, even if a designated angel group also invests in your business.

If your business receives support from at least one designated angel group, but not designated venture capital groups, then the minimum total investment amount that must be invested in your business is $75,000.

How much money will I need to show that I can cover living expenses when I get to Canada?

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new Start-up Visa immigrants.

You must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You cannot borrow this money from another person. You will need to give proof that you have the money when you apply.

The amount you will need depends on the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.

Number of
Family Members
Funds Required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,300
2 $15,312
3 $18,825
4 $22,856
5 $25,923
6 $29,236
7 $32,550
For each additional family member $3,314

Disclosure of funds

If you are bringing more than CAN $10,000 across the Canadian border, you must tell a Canadian official when you arrive. If you do not, you may be fined, and your funds could be seized. These funds could be in the form of:

  • cash
  • securities that belong to you (for example, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills) or
  • bankers' drafts, cheques, travellers' cheques or money orders.
If I have a start-up visa, what happens if my business fails?

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.

Information found on this APS website is not by any means or suggestion a guarantee of acceptance or consideration to any of the programs.
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