By AR Vasquez
Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced this week that entrepreneurs from around the world can apply for the new Start-Up Visa Program as of April 1, a "first of its kind".
The program's objective is to attract the "world's best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world" to bring innovative business ventures to Canada. The catch is that they must find financial backing from Canadian investors.The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) state in their official press release that they are working with Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), two umbrella organizations, to find and designate the venture capital funds and angel investor groups who are interested in participating in the program.Interested immigrant entrepreneurs who want permanent resident status via the new start-up visa program need to find the financial support from these Canadian investors to launch their new start-up business in Canada. Other requirements for applicants are that they have a minimum one year of post-secondary education and that they meet language proficiency skills at a Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, speaking, reading and writing.CIC has posted the list of venture capital funds and angel investor groups on their website.The Start-Up Visa program is a five year pilot program focusing on the "quality of the applicants and on establishing a track record of success."
"Canada is open for business to the world’s start-up entrepreneurs. Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential drivers of the Canadian economy. That is why we are actively recruiting foreign entrepreneurs - those who can build companies here in Canada that will create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale - with our new start-up visa.”--Minister Jason Kenney, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
To receive designation to participate in the Start-Up Visa Program, a venture capital (VC) fund had to be a full member in good standing of the CVCA. VC funds that met this criterion and manage over $40 million in capital were automatically eligible to participate. VC funds that manage less than $40 million had to apply to the CVCA to participate in the Start-Up Visa Program. A number of factors were considered, including referrals from current CVCA members and interviews that the CVCA conducted with the limited partners of the fund. --CIC
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