SSMEDC offering Start-up Visa program to foreign entrepreneurs


Sault Ste. Marie is now the first community in Northern Ontario to offer the federal government’s Start-up Visa program. The recently-announced initiative is designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs looking to establish new, high-growth businesses in Canada.

This local opportunity was developed by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. Over the past several months, its staff has been working to become certified under the government’s Start-up Visa program. With the designation process complete, the organization is now delivering the program in the community.

“This is another tool in our efforts to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investment to our city,” said Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “Our staff are not only working to attract foreign entrepreneurs, but to also assist them with startup support once they’re here. The end result will be more jobs and economic opportunities in our community.”

The Start-up Visa program is being delivered locally at the Millworks – Centre for Entrepreneurship. Operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, the facility is located at the Machine Shop. It houses the organization’s enterprise services programs and staff, along with a small business incubator.

Under the program, foreign entrepreneurs will submit an application to the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. If accepted into its small business incubator, the applicants will receive a letter of support from the organization. The entrepreneurs can then apply for a Start-up visa to the federal government. If approved, they can immigrate to Canada and begin operating their business locally at the Millworks – Centre for Entrepreneurship.

To secure the Start-up Visa program for the community, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation partnered with the National Angel Capital Organization. The non-profit agency administers part of the federal government program by designating groups and business incubators to deliver it across the country.

“Without the support of the National Angel Capital Organization, this local initiative would not be possible,” said Harleen Puaar, Acting Manager of the Millworks – Centre for Entrepreneurship for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “I thank the organization – along with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – for working with us to bring the Start-up Visa program to our community.”

To learn more about the program, including eligibility requirements and application information, visit


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