How to Get a Letter of Support for Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Picture of Morteza Jafari
Morteza Jafari

Founder and CEO at NIKZI

Letter of Support
Table of Contents

Steps to Get a LOS for Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Obtaining a letter of support from a Canadian Designated Organization can be quite challenging, as it requires demonstrating strong market validation or recurring scalable revenue for your start-up. Designated Organizations play a crucial role in Canada’s immigration programs by endorsing innovative business ideas that have the potential to contribute to the country’s economy.

there are several main steps that can help you through the process and receive a letter of support:

Step 1 : Research Designated Organizations

Start by researching the various Designated Organizations in Canada that align with your industry or business sector. Each organization may have specific criteria and requirements for endorsement, so it is important to understand their focus areas and eligibility criteria. This research will help you identify the organizations that best match your start-up’s goals and objectives.

  1. Venture capital funds: Venture capital funds are organizations that provide financial support to startups in exchange for equity or ownership in the company and these organizations will invest in your startup for at least 200,000 CAD . They are one of the designated organizations that can offer support for the Canada Startup Visa program. Each venture capital fund may have its own requirements and process for evaluating and selecting startups to support. If an agreement is reached with a venture capital fund, they will issue a letter of support, which is a crucial document to include in the visa application process .
  2. Angel investor groups: Angel investor groups are networks of high-net-worth individuals who invest in early-stage businesses. They invest in your startup for at least 75,000CAD.These groups also qualify as designated organizations for the Canada Startup Visa program. Similar to venture capital funds, angel investor groups have their own criteria for selecting startups to support. If an entrepreneur convinces an angel investor group to support their business idea, the group will provide a letter of support for the visa application.
  3. Business incubators: These organizations offer startups valuable resources, mentorship, and support services throughout the crucial initial phases of their development. They help entrepreneurs refine their business plans, access funding, and develop their products or services. Some business incubators are designated organizations for the Canada Startup Visa program. Startups that receive support from a designated business incubator can obtain a letter of support (LOS) from the organization, which strengthens their visa application .

Here you can find a list of designated organizations to obtain a letter of support click here

Step 2 : Prepare your Pitch Deck (Business Concept) or a Business Plan

When applying for the Canada Startup Visa program, it is essential to prepare a compelling pitch deck or a detailed business plan that outlines your business concept. This step is crucial as it serves as the foundation for showcasing the viability and potential of your startup to the designated organizations and immigration authorities. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare an effective pitch deck or business plan:

  1. Understand the Purpose: Before you start working on your pitch deck or business plan, it’s crucial to understand its purpose. Your objective is to convince the designated organizations that your business idea is worth supporting and has the potential to contribute to the Canadian economy. Clearly articulate your value proposition, target market, competitive advantage, and growth strategy.
  2. Executive Summary: Begin your pitch deck or business plan with a concise executive summary that provides an overview of your business concept. Include key highlights such as your product/service, target market, unique selling proposition, and anticipated growth.
  3. Company Overview: Provide a detailed description of your company, including its legal structure, location, and mission. Identify the specific problem that your business addresses and highlight how your innovative solution provides an effective remedy for your target market. Clearly communicate the pain points or challenges that your potential customers currently face and explain how your product or service alleviates these issues. Emphasize the unique value proposition that sets your solution apart from existing alternatives and showcases its potential to make a significant impact in the market. By demonstrating a deep understanding of the problem and offering a compelling solution, you can effectively convey the value your business brings to the table.
  4. Market Analysis: Conduct thorough market research to demonstrate a solid understanding of your industry and target market. Present market trends, size, and growth potential, as well as the competitive landscape. Highlight any unique market opportunities that differentiate your business.
  5. Product/Service Description: Clearly outline the features, benefits, and functionality of your product or service. Explain how it addresses the needs and pain points of your target customers. Use visuals and demonstrations, if possible, to showcase the uniqueness and effectiveness of your offering.
  6. Marketing and Sales Strategy: Present your marketing and sales plan, including customer acquisition strategies, pricing models, and distribution channels. Outline your branding, advertising, and promotional activities. Exhibit a strong comprehension of your target audience and articulate your plans to successfully connect and engage with them. Clearly define the characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of your ideal customers. Discuss the market research conducted to gather insights about their needs, desires, and pain points. Clarify how your marketing and communication strategies are in sync with what your target audience likes and how they prefer to stay connected. Explain how you will adapt your promotional activities to suit their preferences and the communication channels they use. It could involve leveraging social media platforms, creating engaging content, running targeted advertisements, forming partnerships, or directly reaching out to them. By your marketing efforts with your audience’s preferences, you can effectively engage with them and build a strong connections. Outline the specific tactics and platforms you intend to utilize to reach your audience effectively, such as social media marketing, content creation, advertising, partnerships, or direct outreach.
  7. Operational Plan: Share specific information about how your business operates, including details about the production process, supply chain management, and important partnerships.
  8. Financial Projections: Include realistic financial projections for at least three to five years. This should include revenue forecasts, cost analysis, profit margins, and cash flow projections. Highlight key assumptions and provide evidence of market demand and growth potential to support your financial projections.
  9. Team and Expertise: Introduce your core team members and their relevant experience and qualifications. Highlight any industry accolades, previous successes, or notable achievements. Showcase how the different talents and expertise of your team will play a vital role in making your startup successful.
  10. Milestones and Timeline: Outline the key milestones and achievements you aim to accomplish in the short and long term. This could include product development milestones, market penetration goals, revenue targets, or expansion plans. Provide a timeline that illustrates the progression of your business over time.
  11. Appendix: Include any supporting documents, such as market research data, product prototypes, customer testimonials, or letters of intent from potential clients or partners. This additional information can reinforce the credibility and potential of your business concept.

Remember to tailor your pitch deck or business plan to the specific requirements of the designated organizations you intend to approach. Each organization may have its own guidelines and preferences for evaluating and selecting startups for support. Adhere to their instructions and present your business concept in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.

By investing time and effort into preparing a comprehensive pitch deck or business plan, you enhance your chances of receiving support from designated organizations for the Canada Startup Visa program and receiving a letter of support. A well-crafted presentation of your business concept will not only attract potential investors and partners but also demonstrate your commitment and readiness to contribute to the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Step 3: Submit your application to a designated organization for review and evaluation.

  1. Thoroughly review the application requirements: Carefully read and understand all the instructions provided by the Designated Organization. include all the necessary documents and information that they require. Missing or incomplete information can negatively affect the evaluation of your application.
  2. Tailor your application: Customize your application to reflect the goals and objectives of the Designated Organization. Clearly communicate how your start-up aligns with their focus areas and how your business idea contributes to the Canadian economy. Highlight any unique features, innovative aspects, scalability potential, and market validation your start-up has achieved.
  3. Present a compelling case: Craft a well-written application that clearly articulates your business idea, its value proposition, and its potential impact. Use concise and persuasive language to explain why your start-up deserves the Designated Organization’s endorsement. Support your claims with data, market research, testimonials, and any relevant achievements or milestones.
  4. Be transparent and honest: Provide accurate and truthful information in your application. Avoid exaggerating or misrepresenting your start-up’s capabilities or achievements. Designated Organizations value transparency and integrity, and any inconsistencies or dishonesty in your application can harm your chances of receiving a letter of support.
  5. Seek professional assistance if needed: Consider seeking guidance from business consultants or experts who have experience with the application process for Designated Organizations.
  6. Follow submission instructions: Pay attention to the submission deadlines and follow the specified method of submission. This may involve submitting your application online, by email, or through a designated portal. Double-check all required documents and information before submitting.
  7. Maintain communication: After submitting your application, it is advisable to maintain open lines of communication with the Designated Organization. If they request additional information or documents, respond promptly and provide the requested materials. Additionally, if there are any updates or changes to your start-up’s progress, keep the organization informed.

keep that in mind, the application review and evaluation process can take time. Stay patient and be prepared for potential follow-up interviews or requests for further clarification.

Step 4: Undergo an interview with a designated organization.

Imagine you’ve taken the exciting step of submitting your application, and now the Designated Organization eagerly awaits the opportunity to get to know you better. As part of their thorough evaluation process, they may extend an invitation for an interview. This interview serves as a valuable chance for the organization to dive deeper into your startup, assess your qualifications, and gain further clarity on different aspects of your application. It’s a pivotal moment where you can showcase your passion, expertise, and unique perspective.

Revisit your application and pay attention to the details. Reacquaint yourself with your thoughtfully crafted business plan, insightful market analysis, ambitious financial projections, and any supporting documents that bolster your case. By doing so, you’ll refresh your memory and be ready to eloquently discuss the strengths and merits of your venture.

Preparing for the interview is essential to present yourself and your business idea successfully.

  1. Review your application: Take the time to go through your application thoroughly. remember the information you provided, such as your business plan, market analysis, financial projections, and any supporting documents. This will help you provide coherent and consistent responses during the interview.
  2. Research the organization: Gain a thorough understanding of the Designated Organization’s goals, values, and objectives. Familiarize yourself with their previous endorsements, successful cases, and any specific areas they may focus on. This research will enable you to tailor your answers to align with their priorities.
  3. Prepare talking points: Identify key talking points and potential questions that may arise during the interview. Think about how you can showcase your business idea, how it brings value, its potential for growth and scalability, and the positive influence it can have on the Canadian economy. Anticipate questions about your market research, competitive analysis, and financial projections.
  4. Practice mock interviews: Conduct mock interviews with a trusted advisor, mentor, or business consultant. Practice responding to potential questions and refine your delivery.
  5. Showcase your expertise: Demonstrate your industry knowledge, expertise, and relevant experience during the interview. Highlight how your qualifications and skills align with the requirements of your start-up. Be prepared to discuss your team’s capabilities and any relevant accomplishments or milestones.
  6. Be concise and focused: During the interview, be concise and avoid rambling or providing excessive information. Focus on addressing the interviewer’s questions directly and substantiating your responses with clear examples or evidence. Communicate your ideas in a structured and organized manner.
  7. Ask thoughtful questions: Prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the Designated Organization, their support programs, or their expectations for endorsed start-ups. This shows your genuine interest and engagement in the process.
  8. Demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment: Showcase your passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to the success of your start-up. Highlight your long-term vision and your dedication to contributing to the Canadian economy. Communicate your willingness to learn, adapt, and overcome challenges that may arise.
  9. Follow-up after the interview: Send a thank-you email to the interviewer(s) after the interview. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to present your business idea and reiterate your interest in obtaining their endorsement. This gesture demonstrates professionalism and reinforces your engagement in the process.

Remember, the interview is an opportunity to further impress the Designated Organization and provide additional evidence of your start-up’s potential. Preparation, confidence, and effective communication will greatly enhance your chances of receiving a favorable evaluation and ultimately securing the letter of support you seek.

Step 5: Sign an agreement with the designated organization.

After acing your interview and securing an excellent review from the Designated Organization, it is critical to finalize a comprehensive agreement with them. This legal contract defines all essential terms and conditions regarding their endorsement, along with specifying different kinds of support that they can provide to help get your venture off on its feet.

Here are the key considerations when signing an agreement with a Designated Organization:

  1. Review the agreement: Carefully read and review the agreement provided by the Designated Organization. Pay close attention to the terms, obligations, and any specific conditions outlined within the document. Ensure that you understand all the provisions and seek legal advice if necessary.
  2. Clarify expectations: Discuss any questions or concerns you have about the agreement with the Designated Organization. Seek clarification on their expectations, the scope of their support, and any milestones or performance targets you are expected to meet. This will help ensure alignment and prevent any misunderstandings in the future.
  3. Negotiate if needed: If there are certain provisions in the agreement that you believe need modification or adjustment, engage in open and constructive discussions with the Designated Organization. They may be willing to negotiate certain terms to accommodate your specific circumstances.
  4. Seek legal advice: Its’ recommended to consult with a competent attorney or legal specialist who focuses on business and contract law before executing any agreements. In doing so. They can offer valuable advice. Thoroughly analyze the document in question. And make certain that your best interests are protected.
  5. Comply with obligations: After signing the agreement, it is crucial to fully comprehend and adhere to all the responsibilities specified in it. This may include reporting requirements, progress updates, financial disclosures, or any other specific conditions specified by the Designated Organization. Timely and accurate compliance is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship with the organization.
  6. Maintain communication: Establish clear lines of communication with the Designated Organization and keep them informed about the progress and milestones achieved by your start-up. Regular updates will help demonstrate your commitment and accountability, fostering a stronger partnership.
  7. Seek support and guidance: Take advantage of the resources and support provided by the Designated Organization. Engage in any mentoring programs, networking events, or educational opportunities they offer. Leverage their expertise and connections to further enhance the growth and success of your start-up.
  8. Honor the agreement: As an endorsed start-up, it is essential to uphold the terms and conditions of the agreement throughout the duration specified. If you fail to fulfill your obligations or violate the terms of the agreement, the Designated Organization may stop its support. Maintain professionalism and transparency in all your interactions.

Signing an agreement with a Designated Organization solidifies their endorsement and provides access to their support programs and resources. By carefully reviewing the agreement, seeking legal advice if needed, and fulfilling your obligations, you can establish a strong foundation for a successful partnership with the organization and maximize the benefits they provide to your start-up.

Step 6: Pay the fees for the designated organization.

Obtaining a Letter of Support from A Designated Organization in Canada can be an exciting opportunity for any budding entrepreneur! However it’s important ,as part of this process ,to acknowledge the fees associated with this service . These charges contribute towards covering specific administrative expenses related to evaluation, endorsement and general provided support offered by such organizations . Being open and transparent about any applicable charges provides predictability when moving forward requesting such services.

Here are the key steps to consider when it comes to paying the fees for the Designated Organization:

  1. Understand the fee structure: Familiarize yourself with the Designated Organization’s fee structure and the specific costs associated with their services. Review their website, guidelines, or any communication provided to you regarding the fees. Gain clarity on what the fees cover and if there are any additional costs or expenses that may arise during the process.
  2. Budget for the fees: Incorporate the fees into your financial planning for your start-up. Consider the fees as part of the overall costs associated with obtaining the letter of support and the subsequent support programs provided by the Designated Organization.
  3. Seek clarification if needed: If there is any questions or doubts regarding fees charged, please do not hesitate to contact the Designated Organization. By reaching out one can receive clarified information related to various aspects such as outlining processes on payments deadlines while also informing you upon authorized modes of payments accepted plus supportive documentations necessary.
  4. Make timely payments: To avoid running into potential obstacles or hitches during proceedings. Take care to understand all fee amounts along with their respective payment terms before submitting payment. Equally important is ensuring that every specified due date established by the organization is met on a timely basis to deter any potential delays or issues from occurring. Showing dedication and professionalism can be exemplified through prompt payments.
  5. Keep records of payments: Maintain a record of all fee payments made to the Designated Organization. Keep copies of receipts, transaction confirmations, or any other relevant documentation as proof of payment. These records can be valuable for future reference or in case of any discrepancies that may arise.
  6. Factor in other costs: In addition to the fees charged by the Designated Organization, consider other costs that may be associated with the overall process. This may include expenses related to preparing your application, engaging professional services such as legal or business consultants, and any additional requirements or obligations specified by the organization.
  7. Communicate any challenges: If you encounter difficulties or challenges in fulfilling the payment obligations, promptly communicate with the Designated Organization. They may be able to provide guidance or alternative arrangements to accommodate your situation. Open and transparent communication is key to maintaining a positive relationship.

Remember, paying the fees for the Designated Organization is an important aspect of the process to obtain their endorsement and access their support programs. By understanding the fee structure, budgeting accordingly, making timely payments, and maintaining clear communication, you can ensure that you fulfill your financial obligations and proceed smoothly through the process of obtaining the letter of support.

Step 7: Submit your application for permanent residency and work permit.

After obtaining a Letter of Support from the Designated Organization, individuals must undertake submitting their application for permanent residency along with a work permit in Canada. This notable step plays an essential role in establishing one’s legal existence necessary for working and residing in Canada while running their start-up successfully. Follow these instructions that will aid you to navigate skillfully across this application procedure:

  1. Understand the requirements: If you’re interested in obtaining permanent residency status or a work permit within Canada its essential to understand the specific requirements and eligibility criteria beforehand. These elements fluctuate according to various factors like your country of birth or nature of business venture among others. To gain access to updated information pertaining to these matters consult with an experienced immigration attorney or check out the official website run by Canadian government authorities.
  2. Gather necessary documentation: Compile all the required documentation for your application. This may include personal identification documents, educational certificates, proof of language proficiency (such as IELTS or CLB scores), financial statements, medical examinations, police clearance certificates, and any additional supporting materials specified by the immigration authorities. Ensure that all documents are update and accurate.
  3. Complete the application forms: Fill out the application forms accurately and completely. Pay attention to detail and provide all the required information. Double-check for any errors before submitting your application. The application forms can be obtained from the official website of the Canadian immigration authorities or through their designated application portals.
  4. Pay the application fees: To ensure a smooth and successful application process, please examine the fee structure carefully. Particular attention must be given to determining applicable charges associated with specific applications or preferred services. This helps expedite our operations upon receipt of required fees through available payment methods by following designated processes efficiently so that we can garnish accurate information around relevant applications in timely fashion accurately recorded.
  5. Submit the application: After gathering all specified documentation and fully completing any associated paperwork or payment obligations it is recommended that you submit this comprehensive packet directly to appropriate agents within immigration services per their specific instructions. Acceptable modes of transmission could include an online interface option or hardcopy delivery via mail/postal service including attendance at identified locations where field offices are head quartered. In addition to submitting these materials please be sure save digital reproduction’s either by scanning original documents into electronic format files or retaining photocopies/paperwork representing original sources so they may be referenced again in times ahead whenever deemed prudent by individuals seeking additional clarity on matters pertinent to their case/interests.
  6. Await processing and provide additional information if requested: After submitting your application, it will undergo a review and processing period by the immigration authorities. This process will take months, so be calm and wait for it. During this time, ensure that you regularly check for updates on your application status and respond promptly if additional information or documentation is requested. Keep track of any correspondence or communication with the immigration authorities.
  7. Prepare for interviews or medical examinations, if required: As part of individual application prerequisites, some individuals may find themselves required to participate in an interactive interview session while others might need extensive medical evaluations done. It becomes imperative then that adequate preparation should be put in place by obtaining all proofs required and fully understanding the particular processes involved beforehand; which include expected timelines and environment among others. Additionally, always make sure you show up promptly for any attended interview session without fail hence ensuring continuity and full participation towards achieving possible final awards/acceptances based on prompt follow-up action taken at various levels during this period.
  8. Follow instructions for biometrics and background checks: In situations where biometric information like fingerprints and photographs must be provided along with mandatory background checks. Following directions issued by immigration authorities is of utmost importance. To this end. Ensuring compliance with specific requirements and attending any pre scheduled appointments without delay plays an essential role in achieving a successful outcome.
  9. Maintain legal status during processing: It is important to maintain legal status in Canada while your application is being processed. If your current status is expiring or nearing expiration, explore options to extend your stay or obtain a temporary work permit to ensure continuity. Compliance with Canadian immigration regulations is essential throughout the application process.
  10. Await a decision: Once all the necessary steps and processes are completed, await a decision on your application. This can take some time, and the processing timeframes can vary. Stay informed about processing times and any updates from the immigration authorities. Be prepared to provide additional information or documentation if requested during the assessment of your application.
  11. Follow instructions for visa issuance: If your application is approved, you will receive instructions for visa issuance. This may involve submitting additional documents, paying the required fees, and attending an interview or biometric appointment, if necessary. Follow these instructions carefully to ensure the smooth issuance of your permanent residency and work permit documents.

Obtaining permanent residency and a work permit in Canada is a significant milestone that allows you to legally establish yourself and operate your start-up in the country. By understanding the requirements, compiling the necessary documentation, completing the application forms accurately, and following the instructions provided by the immigration authorities, you can navigate the application process effectively.