Canada Start-up Investor Visa

Canada start-up investor visa: fueling entrepreneurial growth.

In recent years, the Canadian government has taken significant steps to foster innovation and attract global talent to its thriving start-up ecosystem. One such initiative is the Canada Start-Up Investor Visa, a program designed to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to establish and develop their innovative ventures in Canada. This visa program has emerged as a game-changer, offering a unique opportunity for international investors to unlock a world of possibilities in the Great White North.

Understanding the Canada start-up investor visa Program

The Canada Start-Up Investor Visa is a pathway for foreign entrepreneurs who have the financial capacity and a compelling business plan to establish a start-up venture in Canada. This visa program aims to attract innovative minds from around the world, propelling economic growth and job creation within the country.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Canada Start-Up Investor Visa, applicants must meet certain criteria. Firstly, they must secure a letter of support from a designated Canadian organization. This letter acts as an endorsement of the applicant’s business idea and confirms the organization’s commitment to supporting the start-up venture.

Additionally, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English or French, possess sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents, and pass medical and security screenings. The program is open to entrepreneurs from all countries, further enhancing its global appeal.

General requirements:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Have a qualifying business
  • Have a letter of support from a designated organisation
  • Sufficient funds to make the investment and settle in Canada
  • Documentation to prove that all investment capital is legally sourced
  • Pass a language test in English or French meeting the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5
  • Clean criminal record

Benefits of the visa program

The Canada Start-Up Investor Visa offers a myriad of benefits to foreign entrepreneurs looking to venture into the Canadian start-up scene. Firstly, successful applicants gain access to a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem that fosters innovation and collaboration. With its world-class research institutions, supportive government policies, and diverse talent pool, Canada provides an ideal environment for start-up growth.

Furthermore, the program grants entrepreneurs permanent residency status, allowing them to live and work in Canada. This opens up numerous opportunities for personal and professional development, including access to healthcare, education, and social benefits. Moreover, successful start-ups contribute to the Canadian economy by creating jobs and driving economic prosperity.

Key advantages for those applying to the Canada Start-Up Visa Program, including:

  • The right to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada
  • Access to affordable education
  • Access to universal healthcare
  • Permanent residents are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Access to Canadian banking services
  • Eligibility of obtaining citizenship after living a consecutive three out of five years in Canada

Investment options

To obtain permanent residence in Canada, foreign entrepreneurs must propose an innovative, scaling start-up business, approved by a designated organisation.

  1. Business incubation: no minimum investment is required, but confirmation that the start-up is part of a designated Canadian business incubator program.
  2. Angel investment: raise CA$75,000 from an angel investment group, depending on a certain stage of the business.
    1. Investors will incorporate a start-up business with a Canadian government approved angel investor. Applicants must pass an interview with the angel investor in order to obtain the letter of support.
  3. Venture capital fund: raise CA$200,000 from a venture capital fund, depending on a certain stage of the business.

Qualifying businesses

A qualifying business means an entrepreneur creates a business that meets the following conditions.

At the time the entrepreneur gets a commitment from a designated organisation: 

  1. Each applicant holds ten per cent or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to five people can apply as owners). AND 
  2. Applicants and the designated organisation jointly hold more than 50 per cent of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.

At the time the entrepreneur receives their permanent residence:

  1. They provide active and ongoing management of the business from within Canada.
  2. An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada.
  3. The business is incorporated in Canada.
  4. Investor needs to have a minimum of ten per cent shares in a federally approved company in a specific industry as identified by the Government.

A total of five investors can apply as owners of one company — with one investor chosen as the head of the company (best-suited for the position as per investor’s qualifications).

Furthermore, clients are required to prepare and submit a business proposal, which needs to be approved by a designated government business organisation.

Once approved by a business incubator, an angel investment group, or a venture capital fund (depending on the investment option chosen), the client receives a letter of support. This allows them along with their family, to apply for permanent residence. In order to maintain permanent resident status, physical presence for two out of five years (or 730 days) in Canada is required.

The process can take up to 37 months.

Challenges and opportunities

While the Canada Start-Up Investor Visa presents an exciting opportunity, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges that entrepreneurs may face. Building a successful start-up requires dedication, resilience, and adaptability, regardless of geographical location. Entrepreneurs must navigate market dynamics, establish strong networks, and showcase their unique value proposition to thrive in the competitive Canadian landscape.

However, with challenges come opportunities. Canada’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation provides a fertile ground for start-ups to flourish. Entrepreneurs can tap into government funding programs, connect with industry experts and mentors, and leverage the country’s strong infrastructure to scale their ventures.

The Canada Start-Up Investor Visa is a testament to Canada’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and globally connected start-up ecosystem. By attracting talented entrepreneurs from around the world, the program fuels economic growth. Additionally, it promotes innovation, and showcases the country as a hub for entrepreneurial excellence.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a game-changing idea, the Canada Start-Up Investor Visa could be your ticket to success. Embrace the opportunity to join a vibrant community of innovators and unlock the full potential of your start-up journey in the land of maple leaves and endless possibilities.