The Start-up Visa Program

Skilled knowledge that is

Trustworthy through an

Approachable environment with

Reliable mentors.



To provide innovative startup business mentorship and programming to immigrant entrepreneurs so they may successfully relocate to Peterborough and the Kawarthas to grow sustainable businesses, create jobs, and become an active contributor in our community.


Be the most desirable Canadian destination for innovative international startup businesses to succeed, creating a significant economic impact for Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

What is the STARTup Visa Program?

The Innovation Cluster’s STARTup Visa Program Canada is one of few rural business incubators in the country to offer the Start-up Visa Program by the federal government.

The STARTup Visa Program allows entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada so they can launch and grow their innovative businesses while creating local jobs and economic prosperity.

Our program provides business mentorship, knowledge, skills training, and networking opportunities to prepare international entrepreneurs leading tech-driven companies for business success in Canada and the ability to compete on a global scale.


Located between Toronto and Ottawa in the province of Ontario, the STARTup Visa Program is in beautiful Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Surrounded by hundreds of fresh lakes and rivers, our region offers an idyllic community to grow a business while remaining close to large city centres and the U.S. border.


The Innovation Cluster operates three cohorts of the STARTup Visa Program per year, beginning in February, June, and October. Each cohort from time of application to Program completion is 15 months. All programming is delivered in English.


Government of Canada Requirements

To be granted a Start-up Visa from the Canadian government, you must have:

- An Innovative Business
- Letter of support from a designated organization
- Met the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5
- Sufficient funds for settlement (as determined on the website)

Click HERE for full requirement details.

Innovation Cluster STARTup Visa Program Canada Requirements:

To successfully complete the Innovation Cluster’s STARTup Visa Program, you must:

- Meet all requirements as stipulated by the Government of Canada as listed above
- Have ownership of an innovative business that is generating revenue that is scalable and sustainable in one of these key sectors:
- Agriculture technology
- Clean Technology
- Healthcare Technology
- Digital technology
- Intellectual Property (IP)
- New Innovation

- Be driven, coachable and collaborative
- Be available to fully participate in all programming that is outlined under PROGRAM TIMELINE.
- Be eager to live and work in the Peterborough and the Kawarthas upon being accepted for a Start-up Visa
- Be willing to sign three contracts:
1. Commitment to have full participation in our 3-month Virtual Accelerator
2. For the first 12 months that you live in Canada, your business operates in the Province of Ontario
3. A one-year service contract with the Innovation Cluster


Upon acceptance into the STARTup Visa program, the following payments are required:

CAD$12,500 per company
CAD$1,500 per additional team member

If you are granted a Letter of Support from the Innovation Cluster after passing and completing the 3-month virtual accelerator and the milestone review (see OUR PROGRAM), your 12-month incubation residency contract with the Innovation Cluster will detail any individual costs associated with the residency and different options within the incubation program which can be discussed with Innovation Cluster staff.


We focus on quality of mentorship over quantity of customers.

- One of few rural business incubators in Canada to offer the Start-up Visa Program
- Expertise in technology-driven companies with an emphasis in Cleantech, Agtech, Digital and Healthcare
- Experienced business mentors with deep network connections
- Peterborough and the Kawarthas is an ideal place to live and grow a business
- Can access Canada’s large city centres like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal
- Closely located to U.S. border


Alana Dall

Operations & Events Manager

Alana leads Innovation Cluster’s day-to-day operations, event planning, community outreach, internal and external event planning, and financials for the organization.

Have a question?
Tel: (705) 536-1101 ext. 907

NACO’s membership

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.
The Innovation Cluster as a NACO (National Angel Capital Organization) member, along with other Business Incubators, Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investor Groups have been designated to accept proposals by entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea for the Start-up Visa program.

What clients are saying

Cleantech: are you ready to shape the future?