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How to get the Canada Startup Visa

Updated: 5 days ago

The Canada startup visa program is a niche visa program unlike most other immigration routes and people often do not understand how to approach the application process. This blog post will provide a few quick tips to help you navigate the application process:


First you need to understand the program requirements: The important thing to understand is the Startup Visa program is a niche program targeting startup founders and the requirements are very specific and strict. To qualify for the Startup Visa program you need to have or plan to start an innovative business in Canada, if you meet that requirement applying is quite simple and you will be able to move forward without much trouble, if you do not meet the requirements you will not be accepted and you should look at other options.


Second you need to build a compelling application: We cannot speak for other incubators that support the Canada Startup Visa program but we recieve an absolute firehose of applications so it is critical to stand out. That said it is actually very easy to stand out as an applicant because most applications like most startup pitch decks are frankly terrible. For your initial application all you really need to do is clearly state the type of business you are considering building and present the educational and career background that makes you a credible founder. If you are seeking investment as part of your application make sure to state that as well on the initial application as it helps us route you correctly in the process. A well crafted initial application should be about 500 words and might take you 10 minutes to draft, it is really that easy. The due diligence process that comes next will take a few hours to a day depending on the complexity of your business but again it is pretty easy.


Third you need to respond to requests for information on time: As stated previously we get a lot of applications for this program so when we have multiple companies in the process and one gets all the required documents submitted on time and another does not it is not difficult to understand which applicant is more likely to be successful. That said if you have schedule conflicts and cannot get a required piece of information submitted before the deadline just let us know and we are happy to work with you.


Fourth you need to hire and work with a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant: As part of the process you are required by the government of Canada to have an RCIC. There is no need to hire the RCIC right away once you complete the due diligence phase of the application process we will send you a list of RCICs that are familiar with the Startup Visa Process. Choosing an RCIC that is familiar with the unique nature of the Startup Visa program is critical to completing the process quickly and simply so we highly recommend you work with an experienced RCIC.


And Finally you need to apply early: The Canada Startup Visa is a government process and the Canadian government like governments worldwide can be a bit slow. To put it in perspective we are currently recruiting for the Sept 15th, 2023 cohort and we expect that all applications that will make it the in person start date of this cohort will be submitted by the middle of June 2023 and likely earlier. On occasion we have people apply thinking that they can get on a plane within days and this is just not possible. At best you should assume you will not be able to be onsite for a few months after you apply and potentially longer depending on where you apply from and the current backlog in the process. Note if for whatever reason you are unable to make it to the in person start date we are flexible and can work with you online but the program is an in person program at our North Vancouver HQ.


Hopefully these tips give you a better sense of how to succeed with your Canada Startup Visa application. For more information on the program you should also review the Canada Startup Visa Frequently Asked Questions and if you have any other questions do not hesitate to email us at contact@zenlaunchpad.com.


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