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The Startup Visa Program: Launching Your Business in Canada

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea?
Do you dream of launching your business in Canada?

The Startup Visa program offers an exciting opportunity to turn your vision into reality. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of the program, including requirements, benefits, language proficiency tests, proof of funds, and how Innova in Canada can guide you through the process.

A man holding a canadian passport
Discover the requirements and eligibility for the Startup Visa program in Canada. Book an Eligibility Session to check if you qualify and launch your startup successfully.

🔍 What the Government is Looking For 🔍

The government seeks entrepreneurs with a service and/or product idea incorporating a digital or technological component to be eligible for the Startup Visa program.

Additionally, your business should have the potential for short-term scalability and the ability to hire employees in the medium and long term. If your idea involves a physical product, it should be patentable.

🌟 Benefits 🌟

Participating in the Startup Visa program offers numerous benefits.

Your company can have up to 5 partners, and the investment required for the incubation process can be shared among them. Moreover, all partners, their spouses, and children up to 22 years old can obtain Permanent Residency.

If at least one partner is considered essential in Canada to develop the business, they can apply for a work visa to work in their own company while the permanent residency application is being processed.

📋 Other Startup Visa Requirements 📋

In addition to the innovative idea, several requirements must be met.

- You should have a language proficiency level equivalent to CLB 5 in English or French.

- Obtaining a Letter of Support from a designated institution is another prerequisite.

- Sufficient resources for immigration fees and proof of funds are also necessary.

- Furthermore, meeting Canada's admissibility requirements, including medical exams and criminal background checks, is crucial.

To demonstrate your language proficiency, the Canadian government accepts specific tests.

You can take the CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for English.

If you prefer French, the TEF Canada (Test d'évaluation de français) or TCF Canada (Test de connaissance du français) are recognized.

Each institution's website provides information on test scheduling, and the Canadian government specifies the required scores for speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

💌 Letter of Support: How to Obtain 💌

There are two primary ways to obtain a Letter of Support.

- The first option involves being accepted into a designated incubator and participating in their business development program.

- The second option is receiving investment from an Angel Investor or Venture Capitalist designated by the government.

At Innova in Canada, we operate under the first option. We guide and prepare you for acceptance into an incubator, providing support until you receive the Letter of Support.

💰 Proof of Funds 💰

Proof of funds is an essential requirement for the Startup Visa program.

Two tables determine the necessary funds based on the number of family members.

- The first table applies if you are applying for Permanent Residency only, while the second table is relevant if you apply for a work visa and Permanent Residency.

- The second table requires double the funds as the government recognizes that entrepreneurs arriving in Canada solely to work on their ideation/validation phase may need additional resources to sustain themselves.

However, your spouse can work in any Canadian company, and school-age children can attend public school at no cost, helping balance income and expenses.

🛂 Admissibility to Canada 🛂

To be deemed admissible to Canada, you must fulfill specific requirements.

- First, you should be eligible to enter the country, which usually applies to individuals who have lost their status in Canada.

- Secondly, medical examinations are conducted to ensure you do not have any infectious or high-maintenance diseases that may burden the public healthcare system.

- Lastly, criminal background checks confirm that you have not committed any offences within the countries where you have resided for at least six months since turning 18.

To explore further details about the Startup Visa program and these requirements, visit the government's website.

However, if you have specific questions regarding your unique situation related to any of these three points, it is recommended to consult with an immigration advisor to validate your eligibility.

💼 How Innova Can Help You 💼

At Innova in Canada, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs like you throughout the Startup Visa process.

Our comprehensive assistance includes the following:

  • Helping you refine your idea.

  • Preparing materials for presentation to incubators.

  • Pitching your idea to secure acceptance into the program.

  • Providing ongoing guidance during the initial months of incubation until you receive the coveted Letter of Support.

Stay updated with our content to be aware of the upcoming incubation cohorts, as we typically have 3 to 4 cohorts per year.

Ready to take the next step toward launching your business in Canada through the Startup Visa program?

Remember, the Startup Visa program offers a unique pathway for talented entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in Canada.

Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Book an Eligibility Session with us today to determine if you meet the program's criteria and begin your exciting entrepreneurial journey.

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