With the Start-up Visa Program, the Government of Canada is targeting immigrant entrepreneurs who have the potential to build innovative companies that can create jobs and economic growth in Canada.
Launched in 2013 as a five-year pilot, the Start-up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world and is helping make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies. Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.
To qualify for the Start-up Visa Program, a foreign entrepreneur must first secure a commitment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator by presenting their business plan. With support from a designated Canadian entity, the entrepreneur can apply for permanent residence in Canada.
The Start-up Visa links immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups, thus growing Canada’s start-up business communities across the country and ensuring that newcomers have the support they need when building their business.
The Start-up Visa Program has played a role in the launch and growth of six start-ups in 2015, with a total of twelve approved principal applicants:
- Nick Back, with Canadian business partner Dr. Joe Chiodo, has launched Physicool Canada, with a plan to develop and distribute medically-formulated coolant sprays, bandages, clothing and other products designed to relieve physical discomfort and speed up recovery. Originally from the United Kingdom, Mr. Back was accepted into the Toronto Business Development Centre’s business incubation program.
- Shankar Raventhiran, Anand Suriyanarayana Raja, and Jaishankar Rajagopal, all originally from India, are the founders of Green Anthem Foods Inc. Supported by the Toronto Business Development Centre, they plan to manufacture, market and distribute a range of natural and organic food products, starting with an organic multi-grain dairy alternative.
- Dr. Eric P. Hoffman is a human genetics and drug development researcher and a co-founder of AGADA Biosciences. With a customer base that includes international pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and non-profit foundations, AGADA provides centralized testing of the effectiveness of new drugs, specifically aiming to help develop ‘orphan’ drugs (ie. drugs used to treat rare diseases where the small number of patients make it scientifically difficult and commercially impractical to develop). Dr. Hoffman is originally from the United States. AGADA has received a commitment from Innovacorp, Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization which also provides incubation facilities, expert advice and business acceleration programs, and works closely with Dalhousie University.
- Amit Chauhan, Shiva Shankar Bharthur Virupaksha and Kaushik Vinay Thirumal Girija are the three partners behind Recroup, a job advertising platform that converts regular job postings into engaging banner ads and publishes those job ads on websites where high-quality talent can be found. The Recroup partners are the first successful applicants to be supported by an angel investor group. Originally from India, they are supported by the Burlington-based Angel One Network and are located in Thunder Bay, ON.
- Jose Barrios, originally from Mexico, is the CEO of Cognilab, which is creating an online platform that facilitates academic psychology experiments. The platform reduces the time and cost of creating and completing research, while increasing the number of research participants and making collaboration between psychology researchers around the world simpler. Cognilab was co-founded by Mr. Barrios and Canadian Kelsey Hannan. Operating out of Victoria, the start-up is supported by Growlab, a Vancouver-based business incubator now part of HIGHLINE.