Why is Everyone Talking About “Plan B” Residency Options and Do You Need One?

Why is Everyone Talking About “Plan B” Residency Options and Do You Need One?

First off, what exactly is a plan B citizenship? A “plan B citizenship” refers to having a second citizenship as a backup option in case problems or inconveniences arise with one’s primary citizenship. This can be for various reasons such as political instability, business purposes, economic downturn, or personal safety concerns (among other things). Having a plan B citizenship can provide an individual with more opportunities and options for travel, work, and residency. Some countries offer extremely innovative “Plan B” type programs – for example Portugal has the HQA Visa Program where an individual has a pathway to citizenship in exchange for supporting the formation of a research backed innovative business in Portugal.

Entrepreneurs may consider having a plan B citizenship as a way to protect themselves and their business interests in case of political or economic instability in their home country, or to simply gain access to a new market for their business interests. When an entrepreneur gains access to the European Union for example, they open up a new market that would have been significantly more challenging to crack with no status. Additionally, having a second citizenship can provide access to a wider range of business opportunities and can provide more flexibility for travel and immigration for team members.

In addition, having a plan B citizenship can also provide access to healthcare, education and other benefits, as well as a sense of security and peace of mind. There can be fantastic tax benefits that accompany secondary residencies and corporate ventures abroad (we will discuss these below).

Furthermore, having a second citizenship can also provide a way to diversify one’s assets and financial holdings, which can be particularly important in times of economic uncertainty.

Lastly, some countries have more favorable business and tax laws, having a citizenship in one of these countries can make it easier to operate and grow a business, or to invest in property or other assets. Portugal’s non habitual resident (NHR) scheme grants preferential tax treatment to new residents of Portugal. The structure grants eligible applicants a flat 20% tax rate on Portuguese income.

If the thought of expanding your current venture(s) to Europe is appealing, or if you’ve been thinking about obtaining a “Plan B” residency option for your family, the Portugal HQA Program is an excellent option worth exploring. You can learn more, request  information about the program, or schedule a meeting with our team here.

About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs. Apply for our programs online at empoweredstartups.com

Photo by Fauxels

Your Complete 2023 Guide to Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Your Complete 2023 Guide to Canada’s Startup Visa Program

There’s never been a better time to apply for the Canada Startup Visa Program. Here’s a our 2023 quick-start application guide!

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program was built for entrepreneurs from abroad who posess the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, have the potential to create jobs, and can compete on a global scale.

At a high level there are a few criteria you and your business must meet to participate in the program:

  • Your new business must be incorporated in Canada.
  • The Canadian business must have access to any essential IP foundational to business activity and or products.
  • Each Founder must hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the Canadian corporation outstanding at the time of commitment.
  • All applicants to the Canada Startup Visa Program must together jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.
  • An essential part of the operation of the business needs to happen in Canada; and Founders need to provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada.
  • Each applicant must meet the minimum English or French language skill at CLB level 5
  • Each applicant must have sufficient funds to settle in Canada

Who should not apply for the Canada Startup Visa Program?

  • This program is not for individuals looking to simply obtain a work permit in Canada
  • The startup visa program is NOT the correct solution for foreign entrepreneurs who have extremely limited capital to invest in moving to Canada and starting their venture
  • Founders looking for seed capital in order to move forward
  • Applicants who are not willing to work with a designated organization – This is mandatory to participate in this program.

Advantages of the Startup Visa Program

  • A direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada.
  • The ability to live anywhere in Canada (as long as your designated organization supports this – Empowered does!)
  • Allows for a partnership of 5 individuals in the same start-up (min. 10% of ownership for each partner is required); and
  • Opportunity to relocate to Canada by obtaining a work permit while the permanent residence application is processed.
  • Ability to bring your immediate family to Canada while you work on your venture

How to Get a Letter of Support for Canada’s Startup Visa Program

  • Contact Empowered Startups by filling out the intake form on their website.
  • Fill out the form to the best of your ability. Make sure you include information about the venture you’d like to start in Canada (remember it must be innovative and scalable and traditional businesses will not qualify for the program. Examples of businesses that will not qualify: Consulting, Accounting, Agencies, Traditional Retail, Salons, Restaurant, etc.)
  • Meet with the Empowered Startups intake team
  • Get all of your questions answered about how the program works
  • Sign an agreement
  • Pay your designated organization incubation fees
  • Start the program immediately (no cohorts or waiting)
  • Obtain your letter of support
  • Submit your application for your work permit and permanent residency

Do you need an immigration lawyer?
We recommend that most applicants work with a reputable immigration lawyer. If you need one, we have a network of partners who specialize specifically in the Canada Startup Visa program.

Does everyone who applies get in?
No! We are highly selective on the founders we work with in this program. Overall IRCC states that the Startup Visa Program has a general success rate of 78% for startups supported by business incubators.

To apply for the Empowered Startups Canada Startup Visa Program please fill out our 2023 Intake Form Located Here.

About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs. Apply for our programs online at empoweredstartups.com

Photo by Valentin Antonucci

NT Water Technologies Receives Grant

NT Water Technologies Receives Grant

NT Water Technologies receives grant to integrate AI into municipal water management

NT Water Technologies, a startup in incubation at Empowered Startups, has received a $7,500 Mitacs grant to hire a Master of Civil Engineering student from Concordia University to conduct research on Canadian municipalities’ approach to managing water leaks and pipe malfunctions.

Many industries have applied artificial intelligence (AI) systems to improve operating performance and better service customers, however, this has not been extended to municipal water management. With water scarcity becoming an important global issue, so is the need for technological innovation in how we manage water.

NT Water Technologies’ mission is to reduce water wastage in municipal water networks through AI technology and predictive modeling. NT Water Technology sensors detect the specific locations of leaks in municipal water networks and provide precise location tracking to make repairs quick and easy. Additionally, the sensors offer predictive modeling, giving preventative insight into locations where leaks may occur in the future.

“Water is one of the scarcest resources on Earth. The sooner we can automate the Canadian water management industry, the sooner we can reach our goal of reducing the amount of water lost in Canadian water systems to under 10%.” Ben Nguyen, Founder

Research on municipal water networks’ approach to managing leaks

Canadian municipal water networks lose 13% of their water due to unknown leaks and damaged pipes. Municipal water networks are old, outdated, and have no systems for managing localized issues such as damages or leaks. Through this research, NT Water Technologies will map out an effective go-to-market strategy and understand various Canadian municipalities’ specific and bespoke needs based on their water source, age of systems, and other complexities. Collecting feedback from target customers will help inform further development of the machine learning dataset and set up the company for its first trial to demonstrate proof of concept in Canada

NT Water Technologies is in a stage of information gathering to provide the best solutions to Canadian municipal water systems. Through a partnership with Mitacs and Concordia University, we are able to connect with professionals in the Canadian municipal water industry through in-person interviews and site visits. With this partnership, we gain access to key decision-makers that would normally be very difficult to connect with.” -Ben Nguyen, Founder

About NT Water Technologies

NT Water Technologies is an AI-powered data sensor and analytics software designed to help water suppliers save money and improve operations. Its technology enables municipalities to monitor water consumption patterns, measure the impacts of water use, and plan operations more efficiently by tracking water usage, projecting utility revenue, identifying leakages, and predicting water distribution needs and future leaks.

Contact information

Ben Nguyen – Founder and CEO
LinkedIn
Email
Website

About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs. Apply for our programs online at empoweredstartups.com

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels

Data Crafters: Manufacturing Profits for Small Businesses

Data Crafters: Manufacturing Profits for Small Businesses

Data Crafters gains traction by helping small businesses to standardize their manufacturing processes and save money

Vancouver, B.C – Terrific news from another startup in incubation at Empowered Startups. Data Crafters is excited to announce the success of its launch product: Global Standards Management System (GSM), which is a SaaS solution that helps small manufacturing businesses with limited workforce and capital implement quality standards such as ISO and IEC. Data Crafters launched only two months ago, and its solution has been well received in the market. It has secured its first customers and expects to close another 5-6 businesses over the next month.

“Implementing a quality management system (QMS) is cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses. We have developed a software that not only reduces the cost but also enables small businesses to adopt QMS at their own pace. With our system companies can grow in a way that works for them.” – Kamal Vahi, Co-Founder and CEO

Historically, compliance standards have only been used by large manufacturers as small businesses (SMEs) were restricted by the amount of staff resources and capital needed to embed the practices in the company. As businesses grow, there is a great need to standardize processes to achieve cost savings and consistency in customer delivery. Data Crafters launched GSM to enable SMEs to build capabilities in standardizing how products are delivered to customers, improve decision-making, and reduce costs.

Data Crafters developed modules and tools for manufacturing and logistic companies with 30-50 employees that enables them to identify, schedule, and track work as it goes from backlog to customer delivery. In using GSM, organizations create and prioritize work with event logs and task lists, schedule and report on deliverables with calendars and notifications, and review performance through a dashboard and target management. All this enables SMEs to embed the values of accountability, efficiency, and performance in their operations.

One example of GSM in action is Direct Furniture: a large wholesale furniture store. The company is going through an exciting and challenging period of rapid growth. How they had run their operations to date was dispersed through a combination of paper documentation, individual spreadsheets, and emails. With information so divided it was difficult to maintain control over a growing business and expanded geographic locations. This was affecting the customer experience.

In switching to GSM, all documentation and information on customer service and supplier management was integrated within one system. The Data Crafters team worked with Direct Furniture to establish and optimize a new workflow with the software and onboard its staff. With GSM in place, there is consistency across sales staff in providing price quotations and vendor POs are only generated once the needed documentation and specifications are provided. This has improved the customer experience and reduced costs by ensuring that furniture is built to customer preferences and delivered on-time. It has also freed up management to focus on expansion as they spend significantly less time on organizing operations because employees can log into the system to get the information they need. Now with the backend streamlined per industry best practices (i.e. ISO 9001 guideline) on GSM, Direct Furniture is focused on expansion with plans to open at least 5 more stores in Canada by 2025.

GSM has helped us in organizing our operations. Our people find it very easy to use and it is fast becoming the single source of truth in our organization.” – Mr. Manjinder Singh Suri, Managing Director

For Data Crafters, 2023 will be full of growth as it onboards more customers on GSM. In addition, it will be releasing new templates for small businesses to adopt the best practices of their industry and updating the onboarding tool to make the transition to GSM easier and faster.

To learn more about how Data Crafters can help you reduce your operational costs by 30%, book a 20-minute demo to see how GSM can help you get real-time compliance with ISO 9001.

About Data Crafters

Data Crafters Info Solutions Corporation, founded in 2022, is an innovative SaaS startup that provides customized software solutions that help small businesses to expand their operations and grow revenues by embedding compliance tools and industry best practices, such as ISO, IEC, and SMS, into their operations. Team Data Crafters Corporation has mission is to provide the best technical partnerships and deploy IT projects for customers and governments across the world.

Contact information

Kamal Vahi – Co-Founder and CEO
420 – 744 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC
Email
Data Crafters Website
GSM Systems Website
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn

About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs. Apply for our programs online at empoweredstartups.com

Photo by Pixabay

 

 

Incubation in Action – Women Love Herbs

Incubation in Action – Women Love Herbs

Women Love Herbs is an educational platform that gamifies how to identify herbs while empowering women to understand the potential health benefits. The trends of natural products, herbal supplements, and sustainability are rising. Notably, herbal supplement sales in the US increased by 17.3% in 2020. The co-founders of Women Love Herbs; Ha Nguyen, Thinh Doan, Nguyen Manh Cuong, and Hoa Nguyen; explored a business opportunity in this growing domain while learning how to formulate and test business model assumptions in the Empowered Startups’ Global Startup Accelerator (GSA).

In August 2022, the co-founders entered the Empowered Startups’ incubator to validate the business model in Canada. In addition to having a dedicated coach at Empowered Startups, Women Love Herbs has had support from the BC startup ecosystem. After attending a pitch masterclass presented by Volition as part of the Empowered Startups monthly webinar series, they were invited to apply for and were accepted into the Discovery Foundation’s Regional Investment Readiness Program. In the program, they received additional mentorship from domain experts to better understand customer behaviours, develop a digital marketing roadmap, and build an investment strategy.

“The Empowered incubation program plays a critical role in our product development. The program walks us through different stages of product development and has taken us from assumptions on a business model canvas to launching our first product. In addition, the program allows us to connect with mentors, advisors, and startup founders locally and globally, which has been advantageous.” – Ha Nguyen, Founder and CEO

With the team now having a better understanding of the Canadian market and lean startup methodology, they will conduct customer validation interviews and expect to launch an updated website and MVP in the second quarter of 2023.

About Women Love Herbs

Women Love Herbs is a startup building a platform to help women improve well-being by increasing knowledge about herbal remedies through a fun and engaging platform.

Contact information

Ha Nguyen, Founder and CEO
420 – 744 W Hastings St, Vancouver BC
Email
Website

About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs. Apply for our programs online at empoweredstartups.com

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash