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Vancouver’s GrowLab Attracts Foreign Entrepreneurs Through Start-Up Visa Program

Growlab's Edwards: “The Startup Visa Canada - Business Incubation stream gives Canada a clear competitive advantage in attracting talented entrepreneurs that will go on to build impactful companies.

Growlab’s Edwards: “The Startup Visa Canada – Business Incubation stream gives Canada a clear competitive advantage in attracting talented entrepreneurs that will go on to build impactful companies.”Just a week after Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander announced the addition of a new tier to Canada’s Start-Up Visa program, Vancouver start-up incubator GrowLab has nominated three companies to receive permanent residency under its auspices.

GrowLab is designated under the Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI), and as such is eligible to put forward candidate companies participating in its cohort to benefit from the Start-Up Visa program.

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program was introduced in April of this year, in a direct effort to get a jump on the Obama administration’s efforts to pass similar legislation in the United States, which would fix the more problematic aspects of immigration law to help attract entrepreneurs who might very well be the next founders of Google-sized companies.

Executive Director of GrowLab Mike Edwards was beaming at the news.

“I am incredibly proud for GrowLab to be a part of this initiative with CABI and CIC. I am happy for the founders and excited for the opportunities to come,” he said, adding: “the Startup Visa Canada – Business Incubation stream gives Canada a clear competitive advantage in attracting talented entrepreneurs that will go on to build impactful companies.”

The three companies are Cognilab, Retsly and Zeetl.

Cognilab CEO José Barrios summed up the attitude of foreign entrepreneurs in evaluating their options for growing a company. “In the highly-competitive startup environment, entrepreneurs cannot afford to skip a beat. Foreign entrepreneurs growing their companies in the US lose valuable time dealing with a broken immigration process that often takes years to complete. Thankfully, Canada gets it – the recently announced Canadian Start-up Visa allows foreign entrepreneurs to easily move their companies and start creating jobs in the Canadian economy.”

While Canada’s Start-Up Visa program has yet to produce much in the way of results since its founding in April, the program is obviously important in terms of optics and providing an alternative to the white-hot, and far more potentially lucrative, Silicon Valley scene to which most entrepreneurs are inevitably drawn. The program at least provides a crucial jump that Canada needs to begin the process of attracting the world’s best and brightest.

Ukranian co-founder and CEO of Zeetl Stanislav Korsei says that he selected Canada both for the better environment to grow businesses, and the support available for startup companies. “As an entrepreneur, I feel more empowered by the Start-up Visa Canada program,” he said. “I can now focus on growing an innovative company in Canada to disrupt telecommunication industry world wide instead of worrying about visa applications and extensions for me and my family.”

The Business Incubation stream is the third to be added to Canada’s Start-Up Visa program, to supplement the existing VC and Angel Investor stream.

GrowLab is currently accepting applications for its next cohort, and as a result of the new program foreign entrepreneurs are welcome to apply.

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