The Start-up Visa Program

The Innovation Cluster is one of only 31 designated business incubators in Canada approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program.

Known for its close proximity to lakes and nature while bolstering an active business and technology community, it is no wonder innovative companies are interested in relocating to Peterborough and the Kawarthas. With only a short commute to Toronto, and Ottawa, Ontario, this region allows for entrepreneurs and their staff to take advantage of an excellent quality of life while continuing to remain connected.

We have the business advantage that you have been looking for. With a great network of experienced entrepreneurs and a thriving

technology sector, Peterborough and the Kawarthas has the perfect combination of world-class educational institutions, private equity and government programs.

The Start-up Visa Program comes with many benefits including enabling immigrant entrepreneurs to launch innovative companies that will create jobs in the region while competing on a global scale. When participating in programming by a designated incubator, entrepreneurs are provided with valuable assistance in navigating the Canadian business environment which can often be challenging for newcomers. Not to mention, it brings some of the best and brightest minds from around the world providing private sector firms with access to a broader range of entrepreneurs.

Now is the time to be a start-up here! Want to learn more about Peterborough and the Kawarthas? Check out the video below.

Choose Peterborough, Ontario

The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) is the Government of Canada's partner that makes recommendations for angel investor groups and business incubators. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship designates organizations based on these recommendations.
The Innovation Cluster was recently appointed as a Designated Entity and we are privileged to be a member of NACO in good standing. As Canada's only national platform for both angel investors and the innovation hubs that support Canada's entrepreneurs, NACO's membership includes 4200 angel investors, 44 angel groups, and 45 of Canada's most prominent incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, NACO members have invested more than $1 billion into more than 1500 Canadian companies.

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program allows entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada by starting a business and creating jobs, or supporting innovative entrepreneurs.

Designated entities, such as the Innovation Cluster are permitted to work collaboratively with Immigrant Entrepreneurs that have an innovative business idea.

If the Innovation Cluster chooses to support the proposal, a letter of support will be provided to go along with your full Start-up Visa application.

As stated by the Government of Canada, to be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • Have an Innovative Business 
  • Receive a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5
  • Have sufficient funds for settlement (as determined on the website)

Visit their page for a full breakdown of requirements.

Designated organizations are able to customize their own eligibility requirements for accepting those out of the program. Key requirements for the Innovation Cluster include:

  • Ownership of a business that is generating revenue that is scalable, sustainable, and in one of Innovation Cluster’s four key sectors or have intellectual property behind the business. 
  • Applicant is willing to live and work in Peterborough and Kawartha Region in Ontario.
  • Applicant is willing to work/co-locate at the Innovation Cluster for the first year of operation in the province, and sign a one year Innovation Cluster service contract.

*More detailed eligibility requirements for the Innovation Cluster will be released in early 2021 when the program officially launches. To receive information about the program launch, fill out the form below.

The picture above represents the complete catchment area the Innovation Cluster provides support in. While we provide our incubation programming to entrepreneurs, we also have a wide range of partnerships that specialize in other areas, creating a strong ecosystem of innovation and collaboration for local entrepreneurs.

Other resources Innovation Cluster clients can take advantage of in the region for connections, funding, partnerships and more:




Provide us with information in the form below, and be the first to know when we officially launch the program and begin accepting applications!