How to Start a Business in Canada in 2023
Starting a business in a foreign country such as Canada can seem quite daunting,
especially if you’re unfamiliar with how business works internationally.
Although difficult, it’s never impossible, and in this article, we’ll be walking you through all the
pre-measurements towards starting a business in Canada to ensure that you’re fully prepared
to take that leap of faith in “The Great White North”.
Table of Contents
Business Immigration to Canada
When it comes to business immigration in Canada, The Canadian Government chooses
entrepreneur immigrants based on their potential to become economically established and provide support towards the Canadian economy’s growth.
There are several Canadian business programs entrepreneurs can choose from, such as Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), Quebec Entrepreneur program,
Quebec Self-Employed, several Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur programs, the Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program and the Federal Start-Up Visa program.
These programs are suitable for high net worth businessmen and women who plan to establish and put up a business in Canada.
Commonly Asked Questions
A Start-up Visa Canada Program provides Canadian entrepreneurs with the opportunity to become a permanent resident.
To qualify for Canada’s startup visa program, you must acquire:
- A valid business with a letter of support from at least 1 Canadian investor organization
- Meet the language requirements
- Have enough funds to immigrate and settle in Canada
The overall cost of funds a business owner will need to immigrate to Canada is a net worth of at least $300,000 Canadian dollars for entrepreneurs and their dependents to be admitted for at least three years.
Entrepreneurs will need to invest a minimum of $75,000 to $200,000 Canadian dollars in a business that can provide at least one full-time job for a Canadian permanent resident or citizen.
Canada is more than good for entrepreneurship; it’s great!
The country is one of the best places in the world to start a business, especially if you come in through the startup visa program.
Canada has never left the top 10 list in the Forbes Best Countries for Business list, which most certainly shows.
This is due to the country’s trade and religious freedom, investor protection, low corruption, minimal red tape and low corporate tax rates.
An Introduction to Startup Visa Canada
Canada is always looking for skillful entrepreneurs who are interested in putting up a business or multiple businesses
that have the potential to boost the Canadian economy
along with providing employment opportunities for its residents.
If this sounds right up your alley, then you may have the potential to apply for a start-up visa.
To learn more about the start-up visa program and how to start a business in Canada,
continue to read this guide with everything you’ll need to know to begin your immigration journey.
The Canadian Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-up Visa Canada Program is suitable for entrepreneurs who have an existing business prepared for Canadian investors.
The program also comes with the opportunity to become a Canadian permanent resident and the ability to buy or establish a new business in Canada.
Eligibility For the Start-Up Visa Program
For you to qualify for a start-up visa, you’ll need to gather the required documents and first check if your work experience and personal information fit this category.
To evaluate your eligibility, we’ve provided you with a list of eligibility criteria.
- You will need to provide proof that a designated business organization supports your business plan and idea.
(see the “Designated Business and Investor Organizations” section of the article for a list of business organizations to choose from.)
- You will need to secure a minimum investment of $75,000 and up to $200,000 Canadian dollars.
- You must meet the language requirements. Communicating in either English, French, or both is highly recommended.
- You must prove that you own at least 10% of the business.
- Sufficient settlement funds are required to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents once you arrive in Canada.
- If you meet all the requirements, you may then apply for the start-up visa program along with the help of CanadaCIS.
Requirements and Documents For the Start-Up Visa Program
Once you’ve assessed your eligibility and have contacted one of our immigration experts to help process your application,
you’ll need to gather all the required documents for this program, such as:
- A completed business plan that has been submitted to your chosen investment organization
- A letter of support from your investment organization submitted to you along with a commitment certificate to IRCC
- The final step would be to apply for permanent residency along with your investment letter and additional documents such as:
- Resume (CV)
- Draft Business Proposal
- Valid Passport or Legal Travel Document
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate (if married)
- Police Clearance Records from your designated country
- Proof of Funds
- Bank Reference Letter
- Language Test Results (IELTS CLB Level 5 or NCLC Level 5)
- Medical Examination Certificate
- Letter of Support from a designated Canadian investment organization
Designated Business and Investor Organizations
One of the most important requirements when applying for the start-up visa program is to receive a support letter
from a designated business organization.
You may be asked to support and present your business concept in person or
submit an extensive business plan for them to assess your potential.
If the organization agrees to support your business idea, they will send you a letter of support.
You must get the support of one or more of the following organizations listed below:
- Venture capital funds
- Angel investor groups
- Business incubators
- 7 Gate Ventures
- Arete Pacific Tech Ventures (VCC) Corp
- BCF Ventures
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- iNovia Capital Inc.
- Intrinsic Venture Capital
- Lumira Ventures
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) VC Fund
- Angel investor groups
- Canadian International Angel Investors
- Ekagrata Inc.
- Golden Triangle Angel Network
- Keiretsu Forum Canada
- Oak Mason Investments Inc.
- Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
- TenX Angel Investors Inc.
- VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
- York Angel Investors Inc.
- Business incubators
- You must be accepted into one of these programs:
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
- Food Processing Development Centre
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA Inc.
- Innovation Cluster – Peterborough and the Kawarthas
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- LatAm Startups
- Launch Academy – Vancouver
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
- NEXT Canada
- North Forge East Ltd.
- North Forge Technology Exchange
- Platform Calgary
- Pycap Inc (o/a Pycap Venture Partners)
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
The Success Rate of Applying for Start-Up Visa Canada
Overall the success rate for the start-up visa in Canada is high for those who end up with a letter of support.
In previous records, the success rate for candidates applying through the start-up visa program was 80% out of the 111 applications received between 2014 to 2016.
As long as you’ve secured a letter of support from legitimate business organizations, it is considered your golden ticket to Canadian permanent residency.
Reasons Why Canada Needs Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Each year, Canada opens its doors to all types of immigrants and especially to immigrant entrepreneurs.
As mentioned earlier in the article, the country needs self-starters to boost the economy.
Other reasons why Canada needs immigrant entrepreneurs are:
- For the Canadian economic development
- They believe that entrepreneurs are highly passionate when it comes to work
- They become role models for their community and country
- They provide jobs for locals
- They can handle setbacks
- They give back to the community, whether it be an investment of time, money, mentoring, etc.
The Benefits of Canada's Start-up Visa Program
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program is one of the most beneficial programs within the world and the only business program that offers permanent residency to entrepreneurs and their families.
Other countries such as France, New Zealand, Singapore and the US only offer temporary visas and can be easily taken away if the business does not succeed.
A detailed list of benefits that Canada’s start-up program offers are:
- Permanent Residency
- Fast process time for permanent residency
- Plenty of provinces to choose from
- Multiple candidates can own one business
- Funding and guidance from trusted investors
If you plan to move to Canada as an entrepreneur, now is the best time to!
There are plenty of reasons why starting a business in Canada is always the right choice
and we wish you the best as you begin your immigration journey for a better future for you, your family, and your business.