Start-up Visa

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program


Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program is intended to attract foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish new, high-growth businesses in Canada which will support innovation and job-creation. To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, entrepreneurs must be accepted into a program offered by a designated Canadian business incubator or accelerator. Interested entrepreneurs are required to submit an application directly to one of the following organizations:

Alacrity Foundation
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
       Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
       Food Processing Development Centre
Canada Accelerator Co (d/b/a HIGHLINE)
The DMZ at Ryerson University
Empowered Startups Ltd.
Extreme Innovations
Genesis Centre
Innovate Calgary
Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
Invest Ottawa
Istuary Idea Labs
Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
Launch Academy
LaunchPad PEI Inc.
NEXT Canada
Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
Ryerson Futures Inc.
Spark Centre
Spring Activator
Toronto Business Development Centre
Waterloo Accelerator Centre
York Entrepreneurship Development Institute


Becoming a Designated Entity

Step 1: Sign up for CABI membership at In accordance to IRCC policies, an organization eligible for recommendation to IRCC for designation must be a CABI member in good-standing.

Step 2: Interested applicants should CABI at to discuss the application process. 

Step 3: Interested applicant's eligibility will be assessed on its ability to demonstrate that it: 

·      Is a member in good standing of CABI (good standing refers to the member not being more than 90 days in arrears for its annual dues);

·      Has been in operation for at least 18 months  or, in the case of an incubator in operation less than 18 months,  is managed by an individual with more than 18 months of experience, acquired over the last two and a half years, managing a Canadian business incubator that CABI in its discretion believes would  meet the criteria to be considered for designation -- with the majority of operators, owners and investors in the business incubator being Canadian citizens;

·      Has a management team of proven business professionals and entrepreneurs;

·      Has a well structured program with stringent acceptance standards, an established curriculum for entrepreneurs and a defined graduation policy;

·      Has a managed and active network of relevant seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals that can provide mentoring and support services to clients, including access to business professionals and entrepreneurs in the community;

·      Has an established network within the community and business world that an entrepreneur can leverage to increase their knowledge level, build a network of contacts and become integrated into the business community;

·      Has either an investment capacity or the ability, through their network of contacts, to assist clients in accessing capital;

·      Has the infrastructure and on-site support necessary, including access to technology, shared business services and lab and office space to help build successful, innovative and competitive companies; and

·      Has the capacity and ability to consistently carry out an appropriate level of due diligence on prospective clients that assesses the quality and viability of the business idea and the management team.

Step 3:  Once designated, the organization must pay the CABI Designated Entity Administration Fee – $1,000.00 CAD/annum.

Becoming a Start-up Visa Applicant

Business incubation and acceleration program application processes are highly competitive. The focus is on quality rather than quantity. Prospective applicants must be ready to provide detailed information regarding the potential of their business venture and should include a detailed business plan, financial documents, founder biographies and other relevant information as required by the designated business incubator’s application process.

Applicants under the Start-up Visa Program may apply as either a single entrepreneur or as an entrepreneurial team of up to five members. Each applicant must be an active member of the business with at least 10% of the voting rights to qualify. The combination of the applicant and the designated incubator/accelerator must also hold at least 50% of the voting rights in the proposed venture to qualify.

CABI invites you to complete the following Expression of Interest form:


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