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Education | Media Release

Media Release: Memorial's Genesis Centre launches federal Startup Visa Program for international entrepreneurs

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One of the most difficult things to do as an immigrant to a new country is achieve citizenship. Navigating the course of immigration is a challenging process — one that can be made easier if an individual has employment already arranged. Media Release (08/04/2017) St. John's, NL - But what about those who aspire to be an entrepreneur? What provision allows newcomers to spark innovation and grow the economy here in Canada?

The answer: the Government of Canada's Startup Visa Program.

The Startup Visa Program aims to bring high-potential and skilled entrepreneurs and their families to Canada to pursue their business ideas. Canada's growing knowledge economy enables them to compete on not only a national, but global scale.

Through Startup Visa, immigrant entrepreneurs can apply to three streams approved to invest in or support potential startups: venture capital funds, angel investor groups or business accelerators/incubators. These designated groups can help facilitate and advance the entrepreneur's permanent residency status.

"The Startup Visa Program will attract more innovative entrepreneurs who will create jobs and opportunities," said Seamus O'Regan, member of Parliament, St. John's South-Mount Pearl. "It will attract and retain world-class talent right here in Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Genesis Centre is pleased to announce it is the first designated business incubator/accelerator under the Startup Visa Program in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through this new offering, Genesis will accelerate growth within the provincial entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"At Genesis, we recognize that the key to an innovative society is diversity," said Michelle Simms, CEO, Genesis Centre. "We welcome qualified candidates to make themselves at home at Genesis and in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have serviced many immigrant entrepreneurs through our programs and we look forward to working with our new partners in the immigration field to service many others."

To ensure success for Startup Visa participants, Genesis has partnered with key players from all levels of the ecosystem. The Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation association, of which Genesis is a member, supports the administration of the program throughout the country. The Government of Canada provides referral and support through their various departments. Memorial University's entrepreneurial ecosystem has helped identify potential participants. Additionally, the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council and the Association for New Canadians have partnered to provide their support and expertise in welcoming newcomers.

"Memorial supports and welcomes students, faculty and researchers from all over the world who contribute knowledge and expertise locally, nationally and internationally," said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), Memorial University. "Many of them also have entrepreneurial aspirations and business ideas that they would like to pursue right here in the province. The Startup Visa Program is a step in the right direction towards making that happen."

The Startup Visa Program will create employment and economic contribution for not only the incoming entrepreneurs, but also the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The province maintains a thriving environment for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Startup Visa will play an essential role in helping further cultivate this entrepreneurial environment. Genesis invites international entrepreneurs to apply for the program and make themselves at home in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information on partnering with Genesis or applying to the Startup Visa Program, visit the Genesis Centre online or get in touch via email.


For more information, please contact Elizabeth Kennedy, community engagement co-ordinator, Genesis Centre, Memorial University, at 709-864-4721 or


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