The idea of launching a start-up can be exciting, daunting, and everything in between, especially for entrepreneurs aiming to establish their business in foreign lands. For global entrepreneurs, Canada has increasingly become a coveted business destination, thanks to its unique Start-Up Visa (SUV) Business Class program. This program, launched in 2013, is specifically tailored to attract innovative entrepreneurs worldwide, providing them a pathway to permanent residence in Canada. Let’s delve into the essential requirements for this lucrative opportunity.
The Start-Up Visa Program: An Overview
Canada’s SUV program is geared towards entrepreneurs with the potential to build innovative businesses that can compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians. The program seeks to entice business ventures that are scalable, capable of creating economic growth, and can foster innovation. By providing entrepreneurs a direct path to permanent residency, the program sets Canada apart as a prime destination for global start-up ventures.
Key Requirements for the SUV Program
- Business Venture Validation: The primary requirement for applicants is to secure a Letter of Support from a designated entity. These entities, listed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), are venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators. They must commit to investing in, or supporting, your business idea. The level of commitment varies: a minimum investment of $200,000 CAD if it comes from a designated venture capital fund, $75,000 CAD from an angel investor group, or acceptance into a Canadian business incubator program.
- Ownership Requirements: You, along with any other partners applying, must hold at least 10% of the voting rights in the company. However, once the designated entities have invested, you must jointly maintain at least 50% of the voting rights.
- Business Incorporation: Your business should be incorporated in Canada. There is no specific stage of business development required to apply for the SUV program, but you should be actively working on your business idea.
- Language Proficiency: Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French, Canada’s official languages. Proficiency is tested through designated third-party agencies, and you must score a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either language.
- Proof of Financial Support: You must demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada. The specific amount varies based on family size.
- Intent to Reside: While your business operations should be located in Canada, you are not bound to a specific province. However, you must demonstrate an intent to reside in a province other than Quebec, which runs its own business immigration program.
Advantages of the SUV Program
Beyond the potential for permanent residency, the SUV program offers significant advantages to successful applicants. They gain access to a robust ecosystem that supports start-ups, including a highly educated workforce, strong research and development initiatives, and a competitive corporate tax structure. Furthermore, unlike many other business immigration programs, there is no upfront investment required from the entrepreneurs before coming to Canada, providing a low financial risk pathway for start-up success.
Preparing for the Application
SUV program is highly competitive. Candidates that qualify for the program must introduce a viable technological innovation that can demonstrably contribute to Canadian economy and create jobs. Therefore, it is crucial to meticulously prepare your application and find a designated entity that welcomes and supports your business idea.
PGA specializes in crafting a science-based business plan that clearly demonstrates your business’s innovativeness, comparative advantage, scalability, and job creation potential. Our experts lead the entire process from the intake meeting to the final version of application to create a highly customized, original, and compelling business case for every client.
Accessing Vital External Support Structures
Providing proper guidance, client’s application process can greatly benefit from external support structures. Pace Global Advantage (PGA), has strong experience in advising clients across different industries. Every business in Canada operates in a complex ecosystem of different stakeholders, regulators, decision-makers, and potential partners. PGA helps our clients navigate these challenges with ease, helps key sector establish connections and take advantage of government grants and other benefits.
A suite of comprehensive incubator services is available for tech entrepreneurs, including stages of product development, strategic business planning, MVP development and creation of footprint in the niche in Canada. This level of targeted assistance paves the way for start-up visa applicants, setting the stage for fruitful business ventures. Learn more about the services offered by PGA.
Recent Updates to the Program
To foster a dynamic start-up ecosystem, Canada has announced enhancements to the Start-Up Visa program. An increased number of spots will be available in 2023, with additional increments planned for 2024 and 2025.
To support entrepreneurs better, work permits extending up to three years are now available, a significant jump from the prior one-year limit. Additionally, the program now accommodates open work permits, providing entrepreneurs with the flexibility to secure alternative income streams while their start-ups gain footing. Accordingly, as of June 2023, SUV visa holders can enjoy the benefits of a fully open work permit allowing them to work simultaneously on their start-up and any other job.
Every member of the entrepreneurial team can now obtain a three-year open work permit, facilitating a comprehensive team transition. Finally, priority is given to applications backed by venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators, especially those with committed capital and membership in Canada’s Tech Network.
These modifications cement Canada’s commitment to attracting and supporting global entrepreneurial talent.
The SUV Business Class program offers an enticing opportunity for global entrepreneurs to launch their innovative ventures in Canada. The pathway to permanent residency, combined with Canada’s dynamic start-up environment, provides a lucrative platform for entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to fruition. Relying on the expertise of specialized organizations like Pace Global Advantage can also be instrumental to an application’s success. Comprehensive services geared toward your business, tailored strategies, and established networks simplify the process, enhancing the chances of successful entry into the global market. Like all immigration programs, the SUV program has its complexities. Therefore, understanding the specific requirements, and preparing a strong application are key to successfully navigating the process and establishing your start-up in the thriving Canadian business landscape.
Get in Touch
Call us now or fill out the form to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.
191 The West Mall, Suite 1100
Toronto, ON M9C 5K8
191 The West Mall, Suite 1100
Toronto, ON M9C 5K8