Canadian Government Funding for Immigrant Entrepreneur Start-up Visas

Canadian immigrant business teamThis month (April 2013) marked the beginning of a new program launched by the Ministry of Immigration and Multiculturalism to help the nation recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will hopefully create new jobs and spur economic growth.

The new “Start-Up Visa” has been designed to help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s brightest innovators.  Minister Kenney believes that by “recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world Canada will help position Canada as a competitive global economy.” Successful recipients of this visa will not necessarily receive Canadian government funding for their small business.

Eligibility for Canada’s Start-up Visa

There are 4 general criteria one must meet in order to be eligible for the Start-up Visa:

Get your small business idea funded

Before you apply for the Start-up Visa, you must convince a designated angel investor group or venture capital fund to invest in your business idea. Upon receiving the support of a designated angel investor you will be given a “letter of support” which will be a required document for your visa application.

 Meet English Language Requirements

In order to be eligible for Canadian government funding for small business support immigrant entrepreneurs ability in English or French must be proven in each of the following areas:

  • Speaking,
  • Reading,
  • Listening, and
  • Writing.

Applicants must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 in either English or French for all four language abilities.

If you do not meet the minimum language skills, we will refuse your application.

You must take a language test from an agency approved by CIC and include the results when you apply. If you do not, we will not process your application and we will return your fees.

Applicants will not have another chance to prove your language proficiency. The visa officer will only use test results that you provide when you apply.

Use your test results to find your CLB level.

Start-up Visa Education Requirements

Applicants must provide proof of education along with their application. The specific documents required are:

  • Proof of having completed at least one year of post-secondary education
  • Proof that you were in good standing during at least one year while you were attending a post‑secondary institution

Your proof of education may be in the form of transcripts and a letter of good standing, or certificate or diploma or degree.

   Start-up Visa Settlement Funds Requirement

The Government of Canada does not provide financial support to new start-up business visa immigrants via small business grants and loans.  You must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada and you cannot borrow this money from another person. Proof of these funds must be provided when submitting your application.  The amount of money you need to support your family is determined by the size of your family. These amounts are updated every year and range from approximately $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the size of your family.

Canadian Government Funding Support Services

Mentor Works Ltd. is in the business of providing expert support to small and medium-sized businesses in search of Canadian small business grants and loans programs to help them reach their strategic goals.  To stay up to date with Canadian government funding and small business loans Ontario news and updates please connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.  You can also subscribe to our Canadian government funding E-newsletter.



  1. Hi

    My wife and i recently migrated to Canada and wanted to explore our options of starting our own small business by way of grant. I am an IT Professional and she’s a trained teacher with certs in makeup artistry and sister locks.

    The Businesses would be IT consultancy – Sales and services and Salon (Makeup Artistry & Natural Salon)

    Please advise what is required to get these ideas off the ground


    1. Hi Roger,
      Thanks for stopping by our blog. Government funding is generally to support businesses that are already in business. I would start by looking up your local “Regional Innovation Centre” and municipal economic development corporation. After you get one or both of your businesses started download our checklist so that you can ready your business to take advantage of more lucrative programs as you grow:

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