Startup Visa

NACO administers the Angel stream of Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada's Startup Visa program by designating leading Angel groups from across the country.

Angel groups, incubators and accelerators designated to participate under the program will be able to provide supported immigrant entrepreneurs with access to an expedited immigration process. The process is intended to allow for the expedited migration of foreign-owned businesses looking to operate in Canada by providing up to five (5) founders or core team members with a permanent residency, provided that they meet the criteria established under the program and IRCC's requirements for immigration.

Click here for information from the IRCC

How to Apply

The first step to applying for Startup Visa designation is to become a NACO member. Angel groups, incubators, and accelerators interested in accessing the Startup Visa program must first become members in good standing with NACO by completing the online application and meeting all the guidelines of NACO membership.

Angel groups, incubators and accelerators seeking to participate in NACO's Angel stream of the Startup Visa Program may apply for NACO's recommendation for designation under the program by filling out the application form found on the NACO member portal. It is important to note that membership in NACO does not guarantee access the Startup Visa program as there is an additional application that must be made for Startup Visa designation. 

NACO reserves the right to share applicant information with its partners and the Government of Canada, and to recommend only the members it feels are most suitable to participate in the program. NACO and its partners may request additional information supplementary to that collected as part of the application process. Integrity due diligence checks may be requested by NACO, its partners, or the Government of Canada. IRCC reserves the ultimate right to accept or deny any recommendations made by NACO.

 

 

Apply through your Member Portal:

 

Angel Investor Accelerator / Incubator

 

NACO Designation of Angel Groups

NACO's Angel group designation process is designed to recognize high performing groups of accredited investors that have a proven track record of making informed investments over time while also excelling in:

  • Vetting and selecting quality deal flow for member investment
  • Engaging and supporting the development of both existing and new Canadian Angel investors
  • Demonstrating success in their portfolio as measured by investment, exits and follow-up investment
  • Managing their group with appropriate governance principles in accordance with the Best Practices for Angel Investment and Angel Groups established by NACO
  • Following leading industry best practices for Angel investment

 

NACO Designation of incubators and accelerators

NACO's incubators and accelerator designation process is designed to identify and recognize high performing organizations that support businesses at various stages of the company's lifecycle. These organizations provide some or all of the services listed below

  • Vetting and selecting quality companies to support
  • Structured programming with a defined timeline, goals, and outcomes to be achieved
  • General access to mentors, professional services, and workshops that support the development of companies
  • Direct investment or access to a network of investors to support the growth of the business
  • Access to office space, equipment, and other infrastructure needed for businesses to grow and thrive

Requirements for Angel Groups

To be recommended by NACO to participate as a designated entity in special programs, we require that the applicant group meet or exceed the following:

  • Must be a NACO member in good standing and must have agreed to the terms of NACO membership
  • Must be formally constituted and have formal articles of association or incorporation
  • Must provide evidence of the group's process for ensuring that only accredited investors (as defined by provincial securities commissions National Instrument 45-106) are investing members of the group
  • Must provide documented evidence of a formal process for vetting and accepting individual group members
  • Must provide documented evidence of compliance with any minimum standards or best practices established by NACO and/or its program partners for due diligence that will be followed for any investment(s) to be considered as part of participating in special programs accessible through member designation
  • Must provide documented evidence of compliance with any minimum standards or best practices for investment structures, deal terms and related deal documents that will be followed for any investment(s) to be considered as part of its participation in special programs accessible through member designation
  • Must provide documented evidence of a formal process to be followed internally by the Angel group for determining how and which members of Angel groups will be able to access the available programs
  • Must have sound and well documented internal governance practices in accordance with NACO's established Best Practices for Angel Groups
  • Must comply with any other standards established or that may in the future be established by NACO to guide best practices for investment governance or record keeping.
  • Must keep complete and updated records of the group's investment portfolio
  • Must provide access to NACO approved investor education programs to their group members
  • Must report, when requested, data required by NACO for the purpose of program reporting or maintaining their program designation, including but not limited to:
  1. Information about the group's investment activity
  2. Information about their participation in the programs available through NACO designation
  3. Information about participation volumes and applications made in conjunction with their participation in the programs available through NACO designation
  4. Information about any changes to the standards and best practices used by members as it relates to the maintenance of their program designation
  5. Information about any material changes to their organization including changes to legal structure, key persons, etc.
  • Must consent to allow NACO, its representatives, and partners to conduct financial and integrity due diligence on the Angel group, the scope to be defined by NACO during the application process or at any time thereafter once designated
  • Must confirm that the group is in compliance with provincial and federal tax requirements

Requirements for incubators and accelerators

To be recommended by NACO to participate as a designated entity in special programs, we require that the applicant group meet or exceed the following:

  • Must be a NACO member in good standing and must have agreed to the terms of NACO membership
  • Must be formally constituted and have formal articles of association or incorporation
  • Has a physical office that has been operating and servicing companies in the incubation/acceleration program
  • Has a proven track record of delivering programming/services to a minimum of five (5) companies in Canada in the last 24 months
  • Has been in operation for at least 24 months, or be managed by an individual with more than 24 months of experience, acquired over the last 3 years, managing a Canadian business incubator that NACO in its discretion believes would meet the criteria to be considered for designation
  • Is majority owned and operated by Canadian citizens (or any branch of the Canadian government)
  • Provided evidence of having a clear and stringent due diligence process that assesses the quality and viability of the business idea and the management team
  • Provided evidence that the organization has a management team of proven business professionals and entrepreneurs
  • Provided evidence of having access to an established network within the Canadian business community 
  • Provided evidence that the organization has either an investment capacity or the ability, through their network of contacts, to assist clients in accessing capital
  • Provided evidence that the organization has the infrastructure and on-site support necessary., including access to technology, shared business services, and lab and office space, to help build successful, innovative, and competitive companies
  • Provided evidence of a well-structured program with stringent acceptance standards, an established curriculum for entrepreneurs, and clear outcomes that are to be achieved and measured, with structured and substantive learning modules that NACO in its discretion believes would promote the development of key skill sets, experience, and knowledge necessary to successfully build a startup in Canada
  • Is not financially dependent on the fees collected from Startup Visa participants
  • Does not impose, or plan to impose, the following on an SUV applicant or an intermediary
  • Fees related to immigration
  • Fees associated with reviewing SUV applications
  • Fees for the use of incubator/accelerator's physical space that are above industry standard rates
  • Fees for incubation services or program fees that are above industry standard rates
  • Mandatory rental obligations that exceed 12 months
  • Security deposits that exceed 3 months' rent
  • Fixed fee for the incubator/accelerator's services where such fees are paid more than 3 months in advance of the incubator/accelerator's delivery of services
  • Fees that differ from those charged to Canadian entrepreneurs without reasonable grounds for the difference
  • In addition to satisfying the criteria above, the organization must provide references for 5 companies and 5 mentors that have worked with the organization, as well as 5 term sheets that set out the terms of services for companies in Canada that the entity or leadership has serviced over the last 24 months

Application Process

Angels groups, incubators and accelerators seeking to be recommended by NACO for designation to participate in the Startup Visa Program are asked to fill out the form using the link found on the Member Portal or reach out to NACO staff for more information. Applications received will be considered by an internal committee established by NACO and applicants will be informed in writing once a decision is made by the committee. At the discretion of the committee, applicants may be required to provide additional information in writing or by interview. Only complete applications that meet the program requirements will be considered.

Angel groups, incubators and accelerators designated to participate in the Startup Visa Program may be subject to additional reporting requirements based on the needs of the program. Any such additional requirements will be made clear in the terms of the program agreement or through the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between NACO and the designated Angel group, incubator, or accelerator.

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