News Release — Canada Open for Business to Start-Up Entrepreneurs

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New Start-Up Visa opens for applications on April 1

Ottawa, March 28, 2013 — The world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world, with ideas for new business ventures and financial backing from Canadian investors, can apply to the brand-new Start-Up Visa Program as of April 1, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“Canada is open for business to the world’s start-up entrepreneurs,” said Minister Kenney. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential drivers of the Canadian economy. That is why we are actively recruiting foreign entrepreneurs - those who can build companies here in Canada that will create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale - with our new start-up visa.”

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world. By providing sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners, Canada hopes to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators which will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.

CIC has worked with two umbrella organizations, Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify and designate the venture capital funds and angel investor groups that are keen to participate in the program. Immigrant entrepreneurs hoping to launch cutting-edge businesses in Canada and attain permanent resident status need the support of participating Canadian investors. A full list of designated venture capital funds and angel investor groups is now available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

"The CVCA and our individual members look forward to the launch of the Start-Up Visa Program,” said Peter van der Velden, President of the CVCA. “Our participating funds welcome the opportunity to take part in this first-of-its-kind program, which has the potential to help them attract best-in-class entrepreneurial talent to their Canadian-based investee companies.”

"There has been significant interest from both angels and entrepreneurs since the announcement of this program," said Michelle Scarborough, Chair of NACO. "Our angel group members across Canada are eager to participate, and we look forward to supporting the growth of new businesses and helping them to make their mark in Canada, further expanding our economy."

To apply for permanent resident status in Canada, the foreign entrepreneur must first secure a significant investment commitment from a designated Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund. Applicants must also demonstrate language proficiency skills at a Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and have at least one year of education at a post-secondary institution.

“With our new start-up visa, we are opening the door to new and exciting opportunities for Canada’s economy to grow and prosper,” added Minister Kenney. “This is part of our government’s transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system that will make it fast, flexible, and focused on Canada’s economic needs.”

The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will run for five years. It is expected that due to the narrow focus of the program, initially, the number of applications will be limited. However, the focus of the program will be on the quality of the applicants and on establishing a track record of success.

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Photos of Minister Kenney are available.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Alexis Pavlich
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-954-1064

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

Lauren Linton
Director of Marketing
Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
llinton@cvca.ca
416-487-4299

Karen Parucha
Marketing and Events Manager
National Angel Capital Organization
kparucha@nacocanada.com
416-898-4336

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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