Canada increases its competitiveness in attracting Entrepreneurial talent #Startupvisa

by on January 24, 2013

2013 is clearly the year Canada put one foot forward and elevated tech Entrepreneurship to the forefront. From last week’s C$400 million Venture Capital Action Plan announcement by Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Stephen Harper, to today when Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism (CIC), Jason Kenney, announced the Startup Visa Canada pilot program.

I’m pleased to see the Canadian Government taking the same approach it did when launching the Venture Capital Action Plan, they decided to first survey the community and then closely collaborate with the private sector instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. The Startup Visa Canada pilot program leverages the country’s deepest expertise, knowledge and experience in backing entrepreneurs through investment and ecosystem building.

In a nutshell, the Startup Visa Canada pilot program:

– Establishes a new category of business class immigrants: the Startup Business Class;

– The goal is to facilitate immigration to Canada of a new type of entrepreneur with the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs;

– Immigrant entrepreneurs will be required to have minimal financial commitment from a designated Canadian private sector organization (such as a Venture Capital fund manager, an angel investor group or a business incubator);

– The CVCA – Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, and NACO – the Canadian National Angel Capital Organization, are the initial umbrella organization that will recommend which member should be designated as eligible to participate in the program and will establish peer review panels to assist CIC;

– Entrepreneurs will need to meet certain criteria’s such as language proficiency, educational qualifications and most importantly financial back by an eligible member (as described above);

– It’s a 5 year pilot project;

– It’s start on April 1st 2013.

This program is aligned with today’s hyper competitive global market realities and follows the initial guidelines and recommendations set out by the startupvisa.ca initiative launched in 2010, by Danny Robinson, Maura Rodgers and Boris Wertz. And in no time, the team grew to include Eric BrookeChris ArsenaultMark MacLeod, David Crow and Mike Edwards and attracted the endorsement of over 60 technology leaders across Canada.

“Making of Canada the best place in the world to start and build innovative technology companies. A land Entrepreneurial Immigrants can quickly call their own.” 

 If you want to learn more about how Startup Visa Canada came together check out the following blog posts:

Brad Feld has been the true instigator along side Dave McClure and many other prominent American Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs of the #StartupVisa movement… in the USA. But like one of Brad’s recent blog post: Startup Visa one-step forward one-step back the program makes sense, but it requires a lot of support to make it happen. And lack of support can be extremely frustrating, especially when every developed country are competing for talent and innovation. We were lucky to be solidly backed by the CVCA since day one.

“We believe startups to be the driving force behind job creation and prosperity,” says executive director Richard Rémillard. “We need to be pro-active in attracting foreign entrepreneurs.”

And with their amazing support, along side the Canadian National Angel Capital Association and the Canadian Association of Business Incubation, the Startup Visa Canada pilot program that was announced today came to life. And I believe Canada now has an edge in seeding the next generation: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the likes. Right here, in our own backyard.

Now lets get back to work building BIG innovative companies!