Understanding Canada’s Start-up Visa Program Options

Understanding your options

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program can get a bit complicated. We’re here to help simplify a few things for you!

Let’s start with all the different designated organizations you could potentially work with to help fast-track your permanent residency in Canada. We at Launch Academy are one option, but there are a lot of others out there.

Map of designated organizations

Below indicates where all the known designated organizations currently participating in the Start-up Visa Program are located, province-to-province.


Green – Venture Capital Funds
Red – Angel Investor Groups
Blue – Business Incubators (that’s us!)

What’s a “designated organization”?

Designated organizations are venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators that have been approved to invest in and/or support immigrant entrepreneurs who are applying for permanent residency in Canada while launching their start-up in the new market.

Designated organizations choose which business proposals they would like to review through their own application process. If one decides to review your proposal, they will assess the potential of your start-up and whether or not it will succeed in the North American market. Each designated organization has its own intake process for proposals and criteria used to assess each start-up.

If an organization chooses to support your proposal and start-up, they will give you a Letter of Support, which helps to fast-track Permanent Residency in Canada. Each designated organization has its own pro’s and con’s when it comes to a decision of who to work with, and are not all created equal.

Why would you work with a designated organization?

You don’t have to work with a designated organization in order to expand into Canada, relocate and get permanent residency. However, introducing yourself into a new market with the support of an organization and possibly expanded network who are knowledgeable in that country can be incredibly helpful when transitioning.

Different organizations offer varying levels of support; some offer access to funding, some offer support through networking and programming, and others are very connected in certain sectors. Researching your options is key before deciding to work with any one organization.

About Launch Academy’s Maple Program

At Launch Academy in Vancouver, we work with tech companies who are established in their home country and looking to expand into the North American Market. We’ve been a designated organization since 2017 and have been helping companies land in Canada and launch their existing product or service since 2012. We don’t take equity in companies participating in our Maple program, but charge a program fee in exchange for our programming, access to extended resources and ample networking opportunities with Founders and VCs through our exclusive events and webinars.

If you’d like to find out more about Launch Academy’s Maple Program, find out more at maple.launchacademy.ca.