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5th April 2024BY Nihang Law

Unlock your Entrepreneurial Journey in Canada with the Start-Up Visa Program

Immigrant entrepreneur in Canada who immigrated through the Canada Start-Up Visa program

Ready to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality in Canada? Look no further than the Canada Start-Up Visa Program. This unique opportunity allows immigrant entrepreneurs to bring their innovative business ideas to life and contribute to the Canadian economy.

Why Choose the Start-Up Visa Program?

The Canada Start-Up Visa Program offers an immigration pathway for immigrant entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada by creating a start-up business. Whether you’re an individual or part of a group of up to five owners, if your business idea has the potential to create jobs for Canadians and compete internationally, this program is for you.

Make Your Pitch to a Designated Organization

To qualify for the Canada Start-up Visa program, aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs must pitch their business venture to a designated organization and successfully convince them to get their support. These designated organizations are approved by the Canadian government to provide support or invest in businesses that apply through the Start-Up Visa Program.

These designated organizations include venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators.

Each designated organization chooses which business proposals they want to review, but each uses their own process and criteria to determine which ventures are worth considering. You will either need to submit a thorough business proposal or present the idea in person.

Immigrant with Start-Up Background

Aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs must achieve one of the following to qualify for the Start-Up Visa Program:

  • Secure a minimum investment of $200,000 from venture capital funds.
  • Secure a minimum investment of $75,000 from angel investor groups.
  • Gain acceptance into a recognized business incubator program.

If the designated organization sees the potential in your idea and decides to invest or support your business, they will give a “Letter of Support” acknowledging their support for your venture. The organization will then send a commitment certification to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which will be used to assess your application.

Other requirements to qualify for the Start-up Visa Program in Canada

As with any immigration application, there are certain requirements for the Canada Start-up Visa Program. Of course, there are the usual language requirements and funding requirements.

Language Requirement

Aspiring applicants should obtain a Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, reading, writing, and speaking (English or French) to be eligible. In addition, the test results should be less than two years old and should be done from an approved language agency.

Financial Requirement

You must also show proof that you have the funds and the capacity to, not just establish and sustain the business, but support yourself and your dependents when you come to Canada. The amount required would depend on the size of your family.

Number of
family members

Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)















If more than 7 people, for each additional family member


Source: IRCC

Take note that these figures are subject to change because of the fluctuating Canadian economy. Check out the IRCC website to stay updated on the funds required to qualify for the program.

Have a Qualifying Business

Another requirement is that you must have a qualifying business. This entails that you must hold at least 10% or more of the total voting rights in your business. In addition, the applicants and the designated organization should hold combined voting rights of 50% or above.

Option to work while waiting for your Canada Start-up Visa

Canada flag with work permit

Once you submit your application for the Start-up Visa Program, you can also apply for an optional work permit designed just for this program. This would allow you to get the ball rolling on your business and gain hands-on experience in the Canadian market while you await the decision from the IRCC for your application. This work visa is valid for up to a year and you would only be allowed to work as an entrepreneur to get started on your business.

Get Started Today

If you’re ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in Canada, connect with the experts at Nihang Law. Email to learn more about the Start-Up Visa program and take the first step towards making your business dreams a reality in Canada.


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