E2 Visa versus Start-Up Visa Business Plans

In the United States, the E2 Visa is an immigration pathway that provides prospective immigrants temporary US residence in exchange for investment in a US-based business.

Canada does not have the E2 Visa, however, Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program serves a similar but more favourable function. Positive economic results from a Start-Up Visa can lead to permanent residency.

Start-Up Visa for Canadian Immigration

There are four eligibility requirements that a person must meet before applying for a start-up Visa:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or French (both is better)
  • Prior business ownership (owning minimum 10 percent of voting shares)
  • Provable settlement funds ($12,000 to approximately $33,000, depending on the number of dependants)
  • A business plan or concept supported by a designated venture capital firm (VC), angel investor group (Angel), or business incubator

The last one is generally the most difficult to accomplish. In order to prove that your business plan is supported, you must obtain a Letter of Support from one of the designated entities. This letter must state that the VC or Angel is prepared to invest a minimum amount in your business venture. Minimum investment amounts are as follows:

  • VC: $200,000
  • Angel: $75,000

If your Letter of Support is from a designated business incubator, it must indicate that the incubator is prepared to accept the proposed business into one of their incubation programs.

VCs and Angels only invest in about 1 percent of the businesses that are presented to them. That means that your business idea needs to be very strong, and thoroughly researched, to qualify you for a start-up visa. It must also be in an industry that the VC or Angel is interested in – technology or biotechnology are ideal. Most VCs and Angels want to see at least a working prototype of the product, existing revenues, or proof of some customer interest.

Business incubators have limited space and resources and will only accept businesses that meet their specific internal criteria.

At Sharp, we can assist you in applying for a start-up Visa by writing the business plan. However, the idea should have already been accepted in principle by the organization that is considering providing a Letter of Support. We recommend approaching your target investors before coming to us for help writing your plan.

If you are ready to begin the process of crafting a business plan, contact us. At Sharp, we are building real business plans for real businesses.