As Canada’s economy continues to struggle in the face of global financial downturn, legislators are looking to foreign entrepreneurs as an engine for innovation and growth. Banking on Canada’s reputation as a desirable place to live and springboarding off of existing immigration policies which rank amongst the most open worldwide, the Harper Government has implemented Canada’s first Startup Visa Program. The initiative seeks to lure tomorrow’s great business minds to the North’s great cities, helped along with the promise of startup capital and permanent residency. If successful, this initiative has the potential to put Canada’s startup economy at the forefront of world markets.
The core idea of a startup visa isn’t new. Indeed, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, and Chile have all instituted similar programs in recent years with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, Jason Kenney, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, believes that Canada’s program has the strength not only to compete with other nations, but to emerge as the flagship polity for transnational entrepreneurship: “If a Canadian venture capitalist is going to invest in a startup, we’d rather that business in Canada than India or Silicon Valley or somewhere else overseas.