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

Photo by Valentin Antonucci