Step-by-Step Guide to Applying For Your Canadian Start-up Visa in 2023

Canada provides entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to avail the Canadian start-up visa programme. The SUV programme paves way for starting successful business ventures in Canada. The biggest incentive for applying for a start-up visa is the fact that it can lead to permanent residence within Canada – a dream for many out there looking for a place with great professional opportunities. 

The goal behind the Canadian start-up visa is to not only empower competent entrepreneurs. But also benefit Canada’s economy by bringing in creative, innovative individuals from around the world. For anyone out there interested in availing a Canadian start-up visa in 2023, we have laid out an information-packed, step-by-step guide.

Summarized Guide To Getting A Canadian Start-up Visa in 2023

For a quick answer, you can get a Canadian start-up visa through the 4 following steps:

  1. A qualifying business that must hold 10% voting rights to all shares of the company and 50% of all shares with respect to the designated organization.
  2. The business must receive support from a designated organization approving the business’ operation in Canada.
  3. The business candidate must clear the language proficiency tests with at least 5 CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) in French or English.
  4. The business candidate must have sufficient financial back-up for themselves. Their business and their family (in case the family is moving to Canada too).

Detailed Guide To Getting a Canadian Start-up Visa in 2023

There are a number of details that go into each of the 4 steps, which have been explicated upon in depth below:

Having a Qualifying Business Venture

Having a qualifying business involves creating a business plan that is approve by a design Canadian investor such as a business incubator, an angel investor group or venture capital fund. Each of these support different kinds of businesses, so your pitching strategy with each investor will be different. 

While your application for permanent residence is in process, it is mandatory that your business is already in operation in Canada. You can do this by applying for a Temporary Work Permit which allows you to run your business in Canada while you wait for your PR application to be approve. 

The start-up visa allows you to have up to 5 owners as applicants. Each of these applicants are grant 10% voting rights attached to all shares of the company. On the other hand, 50% of voting rights are share amongst the applicants and the designated organization, attached to all shares of the company.

Receiving Support From a Designated Organization

In order to operate a business in Canada, you require a letter of support from a designated organization. This letter entails that the organization is willing to invest in your business and approves of the business proposals under your model. The key point here is to have a strong business model with all financial and technical aspects of it figured out. If you come up with an impractical business idea, you’ll reduce your chances of receiving support from an organization.

Completing Language Proficiency Requirements

For any business to succeed, it’s only logical that you would have to be able to communicate well with the audience you’re targeting. It’s no different when you’re applying for a Canadian start-up visa. You need to appear for a language proficiency test from any IRRC-approved agency and obtain a minimum 5 CLB in either French, English, or both. You have to attach the test results in your start-up visa application to provide evidence of language proficiency.

Gathering Sufficient Funds

You need to gather sufficient funds and provide evidence of your financial back-up. This to prove that you can support yourself as well as your family in Canada. The amount of required funds depends on the amount of family members per applicant for the start-up visa. The amount also varies year by year. For example, in 2022, for 3 family members, a threshold investment of CAD 20,731 was require. For 5 family members, it was CAD 28,052. An important detail to note here is that the funding must not be borrow by anyone but be the applicant’s personal money. 

What Are The Different Types of Designated Organizations?

There are about three types of designated organizations that you can reach out to in order to receive support for a qualifying business. These are:

Angel Investor Groups

Angel investor groups invest a minimum of CAD 75,000 in a qualifying business. There are about nine organizations classifying as angel investor groups, such as Canadian International Angel Investors, Oak Mason Investments Inc., TenX Angel investors and so on. 

Business Incubator

Business incubator groups are about 36 in number, including the likes of Extreme Innovations, Genesis Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and so on. They might accept your business in case it fulfills their eligibility criteria. If your business gets accepted, you don’t require any financial investment at the outset. 

Venture Capital Funds

Venture capital funds involve an investment of CAD 200,000. Some venture capital funds include 7 Gate Ventures, Lumira Ventures, Relay Ventures etc.


It is a dream of many businesspeople out there just kicking off their start-up venture to not only be a permanent resident of a country like Canada, but also be able to run a successful business there. We have mapped out the procedure to make this dream come true in this article for anyone interested in a Canadian start-up visa.

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