How To Apply For Canada’s Start-Up Visa From Nigeria

Budding entrepreneurs who wish to benefit by starting businesses in Canada via the Start-Up Visa program can obtain permanent residence in Canada if they qualify as immigrant entrepreneurs.

Nigeria has a booming technology hub than any other country in Africa. Nigerian start-ups can benefit from access to the Canadian market through the Start-Up Visa program. Here, we would show you how to apply for Canada’s Start-up Visa from Nigeria and everything you need to know about the Start-up Visa program.

According to the Global Start-up Ecosystem Report of 2019, Nigeria is listed as one of the most likely places in the world to become a Top thirty (30) tech hub to lead a Silicon Valley-like, though smaller, tech boom in the next few years.

The Nigerian start-up ecosystem is on the move,” note VC4A, a Nigerian start-up support organization. “It is a leading hub for entrepreneurship on the continent thanks to several strengths, including a growing number of engaging international investors, a large population with access to technology, and a growing number of start-up support organizations active in the ecosystem.”

That explosive growths in tech companies in Nigeria come as Canadian companies are set for major growth in the digitization of their operations in the post-COVID-19 era.

The number one priority for businesses in Canada in 2021 is digital resiliency and our predictions reflect that priority,” says Olivet Tony, International Data Corporation’s group vice-president of research.

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused a very rapid move to digital technologies and services in large part to serve clients and support employees in new ways. But as business and IT leaders look forward to the post-pandemic economy, we do not expect them to go back to the old ways of doing business,” he says. “Digital investments will continue, and the notion of resiliency will remain paramount on the executive agenda.”

Opportunity For Nigerian Start-ups and Entrepreneurs

International Data Corporation is predicting that Canadian organizations will speed up the digitization of their workflow two to three times faster than the automation of their physical environment in the coming year. By the end of 2021, fifty percent of Canadian large enterprises are expected to be using artificial intelligence to process workflow automation.

That means there is a great deal of opportunity for Nigerian start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to come to Canada and establish a business under Canada’s Start-Up Visa program.

Budding entrepreneurs who wish to benefit by starting businesses in Canada via the Start-Up Visa program can obtain permanent residence in Canada if they qualify as immigrant entrepreneurs.

Under the Canada Start-Up Visa program, three types of private-sector investors are considered: venture capital funds, angel investors, and business incubators. A designated venture capital fund must prove that it is investing a minimum of $200,000 into the qualifying business.

Candidates may also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling around $200,000. A designated angel investor group has to invest a minimum of $75,000 into the qualifying business.

Candidates could also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totaling around $75,000. A designated business incubator must also accept the applicant into its business incubator program. It is up to the immigrant investor to come up with a viable business plan that will meet the due diligence requirements of these designated government-approved entities.

That’s normally done with the help of business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem with supervision from experienced corporate business immigration attorneys who can ensure a start-up’s business concept meets all industry requirements in terms and conditions.

Designated Organizations For A Start-up Visa

Candidates applying under the Start-Up Visa program can first come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before their application for Canadian permanent residence is finalized.

Apart from the eligibility criteria for a startup visa in Canada, you must present some other evidence (Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support) to show that you already have a designated Canadian organization supporting your start-up visa.

These documents will give a detailed account of your arrangements with one or more Canadian organizations and will help your application for a Canada visa easier.

Candidates for Canada start-up visas may not require to invest their own money, unlike the federal and provincial investor programs.

However, if you meet the requirements, you must have a minimum of $75,000 from a Canadian angel investor or a minimum of $200,000 from a Canadian venture capital fund authorized by the Canadian government.

List Of Designated Organizations For Canada Start-up Visa

Venture capital funds

  • 7 Gate ventures
  • BCF Ventures
  • BDC Ventures Capital
  • Celtic House Venture Partners
  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP
  • Golden Venture Partners Fund LP
  • Impression Ventures
  • Innovation Platform Capital International LP
  • iNovia Capital Inc.
  • Lumira Ventures
  • Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a innvacorp)
  • Pangaea Ventures Ltd
  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds
  • Real Ventures
  • Relay Ventures
  • ScaleUp Ventures Partners Inc.
  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
  • Top Renergy Inc.
  • Version One Ventures
  • Westcap Management Ltd
  • Yaletown Ventures Partnership Inc.
  • York Entrepreneurship Development (YEDI) VC Fund

Angel investor groups

  • Canada International Angel Investors
  • Ekagrata Inc.
  • Golden Triangle Angel Network
  • Oak Mason Investment Inc.
  • Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
  • Tenx Angel Investors Inc.
  • York Angel Investors Inc.

Business incubators

  • Alacrity Foundation
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
    • Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
    • Food Processing Development Centre
  • Biomedical Commercialization
  • Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • Empowered Startups Ltd
  • Genesis Centre
  • Highline BETA Inc.
  • Innocacorp
  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
  • InvesStartups
  • LatAm Startups
  • Launch Academy- Vancouver
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.
  • Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • NEXT Canada
  • North Forge Technology Exchange
  • Platform Calgary
  • Re-Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
  • Ryerson Futures Inc.
  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
  • Spring activator
  • The DMZ at Ryerson UnUniversity
  • Toronto Business Development Centre(TBDC)
  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada
  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

Canada Start-up Visa Eligibility Criteria

The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility criteria for the Start-Up Visa program are:

a qualifying business

You must  have a qualifying business to be eligible for Canada start up visa from Nigeria. In the business you must have

  • 10% of the voting rights attached to all shares of the company and
  • 50% the voting rights attached to all shares of the company with a designated organization

letter of support from a designated organization

  • You must get support from a designated organization which must be a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.
  • You must pitch your business to the designated organization to know if they will accept your business
  • If they accept your business, they will issue you a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support

settlement funds 

You must prove that you have enough money to settle down in Canada and also enough money to take care of your family members and dependents

who are coming to Canada with you. Canada does not give financial support to new Start-up Visa immigrants.

When applicants apply, they need to show evidence they have the finances to support themselves and their dependents in Canada. This money can not be borrowed.

The stipulated amount needed for you your family members depends on the number of family members migrating into Canada with you. Below is a list of amount demanded for each number of family members.

Settlement Funds Required Under Start-Up Visa Program

Number of family members Funds needed
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
* Each additional family member $3,492

In addition, it often occurs that candidates may need to present additional, sufficient funding to meet start-up costs of their business project, as a condition of investment by a designated entity (Venture capitals or Angel investors).

This is an aspect where experienced legal consulting will prove invaluable. The amount of settlement funding required depends on the size of the candidate’s family. Certainly, the Start-Up Visa program is growing in popularity. In 2019, the total number of newcomers approved admissions reached 510, more than double the 250 newcomers welcomed in 2018. The figures have steadily been increasing over the last five years.

Language Proficiency

You must take a language proficiency test where you must get a Language Benchmark level 5 in either English or French in speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

However, it frequently occurs that higher levels of English are required to meet the due diligence requirement imposed by the designated organization.

How To Apply for Canada Start-up Visa From Nigeria

Steps to apply for a Canada start-up visa from Nigeria

Step 1:

Fill out the application form:

  • Fill out the Generic Application Form for Canada
  • After filling in the correct details click ‘Validate’
  • Print the validated application form with the bar code page
  • Sign and date the form

Step 2

Complete the document checklist

  • Gather all the required documents listed in the document checklist
  • Seal all the necessary documents in an envelope
  • Print out the document checklist and sign it
  • Use the document checklist as the cover page of your application

Step 3

Pay your application fees

  • Pay your application fee including the processing fee and family members following you.
  • Right of Permanent Residence fee
  • Third-party fees including fees for medical exams, police certificates, and language testing
  • Biometrics fees:
Type of Applicant Cost
Individual applicants $85 CAD
Families applying together Maximum total fee of $170 CAD
Groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff Maximum total fee of $255 CAD

Step 4

Submit your application

After completing your application form, you must make sure to submit it if you

  •   have signed all forms
  • have paid your processing fees
  • include all receipts in your application form and
  • Include all supporting documents

Frequently Asked Questions About Canada Start-up Visa From Nigeria

Q. What is a Startup visa?

Ans. Canada startup visa is a program that allows immigrants who want to start up new businesses in Canada to have the opportunity to start their business in Canada. The business must prove to be

  • innovative
  • be able to create new jobs and
  • can compete on a global scale.

Q. What is the processing time for a Canada start-up visa from Nigeria?

Ans. The processing time for a Canada start-up visa is between 12 and 16 months.

Q. How do I get a Canadian start-up visa from Nigeria?

Ans. To qualify for a Canada start-up visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria

  1. Provide your business with a support letter from a designated investor organization.
  2.  Meet the language requirements.
  3.  Prove that your business meets the ownership requirements.
  4. Proof of settlement funds.