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Maple Program FAQ's
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Maple Program Questions

Video Q&A

Launch's CEO Ray Walia sits down to discuss an overview of the tech industry in Canada and cover options that tech founders, co-founders, and entrepreneurs have in regards to immigrating to Canada, helping to stabilize the visa uncertainty that startup founders and even their families can face. We want to help founders to understand how to best position themselves for success in North America given the challenges around immigration into the USA.

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Alumni Testimonials

Making the leap and moving your company and family to a new country to grow your tech company isn't an easy choice. Hear from some of Launch's Maple members and alumni about why they made the move and what they've learned.

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General Questions

Where is Launch located?

Launch is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Currently, we only have one location

What is the Maple Program?

The Maple Program aids international companies in their growth and expansion to Canada and North America by providing a landing pad with resources, mentorship, networking & business matchmaking to overcome the challenges that occur when moving your business and family to Canada.

Do we have to land in Vancouver or can it be anywhere in Canada?

Launch is based in Vancouver, BC so at this time we are only looking for companies who want to reside in/expand to Vancouver for at least the next 6-8 months.

Does Launch help me get funding or VC partner for a scalable business venture through the Maple Program?

We provide connections through the Maple Program, which may lead to funding, however if you are looking for funding, we highly recommend you look at a different designated organization to first get your letter of support from them - there are lots of programs that provide immediate funding, but Launch is not one of them.

If I applied in the past, can I apply again with a different start-up?

Absolutely. You are welcome to re-apply as many times as you would like.

We want to make sure you have the right market fit, so if that is what you focus on, you will have a much higher chance of getting your application through.

Will Launch take equity of my company?

Launch is a not-for-profit and does not take equity from any of its startups.

Immigration Questions

What immigration routes are there (Startup Visa, Express Entry, Global Talent Stream)

There are multiple pathways of Immigration. These include:

  1. Startup Visa Program - This is the most popular and most powerful immigration program offered by the Canadian IRCC as it supports up to five co-founders as well as their spouse and children. The basic requirements for the Startup Visa Program include, majority shareholding rights, the company must be a BC entity, all applying founders must control at least 10% of the company shares, and the company must hold a Letter of Support from a designated entity.
  1. Express Entry - The Express Entry program has multiple sub-programs under the name that entrepreneurs can apply for. Your qualifications are based on a series of criteria and a point system, each applicant will be required to collect a certain number of points from qualifications such as education, work experience, language ability and so forth. However, those that are planning to use EE for their immigration must note that this will only support an individual and remaining team members would have to apply through their own designated immigration channels. In order to find out if you qualify for Express Entry, please fill out the IRCC’s questionnaire here.
  2. Global Talent Stream - GTS is a unique immigration program that was designed by the IRCC for Canadian companies to gain access to highly-skilled global talents and to bring them to Canada. There are a list of Global Talent Occupations that you must qualify under in order to apply, as well as minimum wage requirements for each profession. To learn more about the occupations list that qualifies, please review here.
  3. BCPNP - The BC Provincial Nominee Program is an alternative way for high-demand foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs to gain permanent residency in BC. There are three sub-programs on a provincial level, such as Express Entry BC, Entrepreneur Immigration and Skills Immigration. To learn more if you qualify under any of these streams, please review here.

How long does it take to receive PR through Startup Visa

Receiving your PR through the Startup Visa Program is the fastest and can take anywhere from a minimum of one year to up to two years total.

When do we receive the Letter of Support

The Letter of Support will be issued upon the approval of each company’s Roadmap, as well as the agreement between each company and the Launch team in Phase 2 of the Maple Program. The timeline is structured so that the company can apply for their PR after landing in Vancouver for Phase 4.

How many people can apply on with the Letter of Support

Up to 5 people can be identified as essential people on the Letter of Support. However, only one is required for the completion of the Maple Program. All other founders can apply directly for their PR.

What is essential vs non-essential?

Essential candidates for Startup Visa Program would mean they are applying for a work permit to land in Canada and start immediately. The Maple Program requires that at least one founder per team is listed as an essential candidate in order to receive their work permit and complete the remainder of the Maple Program in Vancouver.

Can Non-Essential candidates on Startup Visa Program apply for Permanent Residency?

Yes, all co-founders listed on the Startup Visa Commitment Certificate will need to apply for their Permanent Residency before the expiry date.

All companies are required to apply for their Permanent Residency after one of their founders have landed in Vancouver and have begun Phase 3 of the program

How will children/spouses receive their work/study visas?

Spouses and dependents that company founders are planning to bring a long must apply for their respective work visa or study visa’s at the same time.

Anyone children under the age of 15 are required to apply for a student visa and any older children may apply for a work visa.

Is the work visa an open permit for spouses/children?

Yes, the work visa that your spouse and children can apply for will be an open work permit meaning that they will be able to work anywhere they wish.

Is the work visa supplied through the Commitment Certificate for founders an open work permit?

No, the conditions of the Startup Visa Program require that founders are arriving in Canada on the premise that they will be working within their own company.

What kind of documentation will we need to apply for our Work Visa?

For the Maple Program, we will require the following documentation in order to prepare your Letter of Support:

What kind of documentation will you need for the Permanent Residency?

Based on the immigration path you choose or your country of origin, some of the documentation may require additional documentation. The general list that is across all PR applications include, a Medical Examination certificate (Nation based), a Police Certificate (Nation based), a copy of your Passport/Travel Documents, proof of work experience and proof of funds.

How long does the immigration process take?

The timeline varies based on your nationality and the type of immigration application that is submitted. Generally, we see an average of two to three months processing time for those that submit a Work-visa application to the IRCC and around the same time frame for Permanent Residency applications.

Is Canada still closing their borders? IF so, how can we enter?

As of today (August 20th, 2020) the Canadian borders still remain closed to non-essential travel. However, anyone that holds a work-visa permit or a Permanent residency status is able to land within Canada. Please note that other countries will have different travel restrictions and regulations in place.

Start-up Visa Questions

Is Launch a designated organization for Start-up Visa Program?

Yes, Launch has been a designated organization since 2015.

Who can apply for the Start-up Visa Program?

While anyone can apply for to the Start-up Visa Program, we only consider issuing a Letter of Support to companies that are enrolled in our Maple Program However, for companies that have a pre-existing relationship with Launch may be eligible to receive a Letter of Support without enrolling in the Maple Program

What are the requirements to apply for the Start-up Visa Program?

You must meet the minimum Level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in English by the time you apply for your PR. Applicants must individually hold at least 10% of the company’s voting rights and applicants all together must hold at least 50% of the company’s voting rights. At least one applicant has control over the intellectual property of the business.

The necessary funds to sustain its runway after the fees from the Maple Program.

Can I join the Start-up Visa Program if I live in Canada?

The Start-up Visa Program is a government immigration program that is focused on bringing companies that are not currently Canadian. So, if you have PR or citizenship and your partner does not, your company will not be eligible to apply for the program.

How much does the Start-up Visa Program cost?

Please note that any fees associated with the Start-up Visa Program process and application are separate from the Maple Program fees. Fees associated with the Start-up Visa Program are listed here.

Admission Questions

What criteria is my application based on?

Evaluation is focused on four key aspects (in order of priority):

  1. Why does [the business] want to move to Canada? There must be proof of a valid business related reason for the move.
  2. Would [the applicant(s)] be an asset to Canada? Would your skillset be relevant to furthering innovation in Canada, and contribute to exciting new businesses?
  3. Would [the business] be an asset to Canada? Is the business something that is relevant and viable in Canada? Is there a track record or proof that the business can be sustainable and grow to create jobs in Canada? Is your company already in revenue?
  4. Is your business in one of the areas of emerging tech that Launch Academy is looking to work with? The areas include Artificial Intelligence, VR/AR/MR, Blockchain, Financial Services, Data Science, Quantum Computing, Health Tech, CyberSecurity, and SaaS.

Is your business in one of the areas that emerging technical areas that Launch Academy is looking to work with

These areas include:

Do you take companies in their Idea Stage?

The simple answer is no. We work with companies that already have a product in the market, are financially stable, have already raised funding either internally or externally, and/or already have revenues, and are focused on the expansion of an existing business into North America through Canada. However, if you come from a strong start-up or business background, we may consider your application.

What kind of tech do you work with?

We are looking to work with companies in the following emerging areas of tech:

How can we apply?

Sign up here to receive our Maple Application form.

How long will it take to process the application?

It can us take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to review your application once you’ve submitted it.

What does the application review process look like?

The review process begins about a month before the beginning of each cohort. New cohorts usually begin in January, May and September, with some exceptions.

The Launch team diligently reviews each section of the application, and will then contact each company that has been shortlisted for the next stage of the application process directly.

Once we have our shortlist confirmed and each company on that list has been contacted, we present each application to a panel of esteemed judges who will provide their thoughts on the fit of each company both for the Maple Program, as well as the local tech community.

Our judges include notable founders, CEOs, mentors, Maple alumni and other prominent names in the community

What happens if my application gets rejected?

If we do not accept your company’s application to the Maple Program, we will contact you.

Why did my application get rejected?

Due to the volume of inquiries and applications we receive for the Maple Program, we will not be able to specify the exact reasons as to why your application was rejected.

However, we do encourage rejected applicants to continue to work on their company or startup and apply for the Maple Program again, if this is still something that you’re interested in pursuing.

Can I get feedback on my application?

Program Fee Questions

How much does the Maple Program cost?

The Maple Program starts at $28,000 USD + any applicable taxes, paid over the length of the program, 24 months. The program fee can change depending on how many team members are involved in the program.

When is each payment due?

The payment for Phase 1 is due prior to the start of the program. The payment for Phase 2 is due upon the company’s acceptance into Phase 2 of the program. The payment for Phase 3 is split into four installments, each due at the end of each month of the phase.

What is the payment structure?

The program fee is invoiced in installments over the duration of the entire program. Installments are charged as follows:

Is the cost per company or per founder?

The cost of the Maple Program is charged per company, however the total amount may vary depending on how many founders/team members are participating in the program.

Does it cost extra to have additional founders?

Yes, the cost may vary depending on how many team members are participating in the program.

Programming Questions

How long does the program take to complete?

The length of the program can be anywhere from a minimum of 18 months to 24 months to complete.

How is the program structured?

There are three separate phases of the Maple Program. Each phase is designed to provide enough information and resources for each of the companies to make the preparations necessary for transitioning your company to Canada. For a detailed breakdown, see below.

What kind of checkpoints are required to receive a Letter of Support?

Each company must be a part of, and have completed Phases 1 and 2, as well as the Roadmap assignment in order to receive a Letter of Support from Launch.

Do all of our founders/team need to participate in the program?

The short answer is no. However, anybody from your team that is planning to make the move to Vancouver is required to participate in the program. As mentioned above, if your company is taking the Start-up Visa Program route for immigration, they will allow you to bring a maximum of 5 team members including yourself.

When does the program start?

We have a few start dates throughout the year. Middle of January, middle of March, middle of June, and middle of September. However, we do accept applications year-end, in preparation for those specific start dates.

What happens in Phase 1?

Phase 1 takes place virtually over the course of 6-8 weeks. Each company will participate in our online program which includes webinars that are mandatory to attend.

Webinar topics will include:

What happens in Phase 2?

Phase 2 is considered the ‘Roadmapping’ phase and takes place over the course of 4-12 months. Each company will work with Launch to: incorporate their company, plan their immigration route, and make the move to Canada. Phase 2 should be completed in either January, May or September, when Phase 3 will begin.

What happens in Phase 3?

Phase 3 is considered the ‘Pre-Arrival’ phase and takes place online prior to the team’s arrival in Vancouver. During this phase, the team is provided resources that will help with future fundraising activities in North America. Resources to help with marketing and promotion of the company through media channels and public relations channels will also be provided. An additional module is made available for team members that have families and/or spouses that would like additional information and resources that will aid their family transition to Canada.

What happens in Phase 4?

Phase 4 is considered the ‘Landing Pad’ phase and takes place over the course of 4 consecutive months

It is mandatory for each company to acquire their work permits as well as physically be in Vancouver for the successful completion of this phase. Each company will get acclimated to Canada, begin rebuilding their business network, and prepare their company for the Canadian market. Phase 4 is composed of workshops, networking events and office hours with our mentors.

What happens in Phase 5?

Phase 5 takes place in Vancouver virtually and in person at our office where you will have access to our LaunchPad program for 12 months, as well as the support of the Launch Team as Permanent Residency applications are being processed. The objective of Phase 5 is to provide continued support as needed while companies get acclimated to the Canadian climate, build out their business network, await finalization of their Permanent Residency applications, and to stay within compliance with the legislative requirements for Permanent Residency under business immigration programs.

What happens after Phase 5?

After the successful completion of Phase 5 of the Maple Program, you should have obtained your PR status. You will have the priority status to stay at Launch as an alumnus, but will be required to pay further membership fees. You will also have the option of continuing your LaunchPad membership.

How soon can I come to Vancouver?

In theory, you can apply for a Work Permit as soon as Phase 1 and Phase 2 (approximately 8-14 weeks) of the Maple Program are completed.

However, we do not issue the Letter of Support until the successful completion of Phase 2. Based on the structure of Phase 2, the faster your company is able to complete all checkpoints required by our program, the sooner you can apply for the following intake of Phase 3 companies.

Landing dates fall in either January, May or September, but as part of the Maple Program, the essential team members of your company will be required to apply for a Work Permit before arriving in Vancouver for Phase 4. The Work Permit takes approximately 1 month to be approved.

How many team members can I bring?

The number depends on the immigration route that you decide on. The Start-up Visa Program will allow you to bring a total of 5 members of your team, including yourself.

As mentioned in the ‘Start-up Visa Program’ section, each team member needs to hold at least 10% of shares/voting rights and must also be able to pass all required If one of your team members does not qualify, the application for the other members will be impacted as well.

Each team member is also allowed to bring their spouse and immediate dependents (children). All of these parties will receive PR through the Start-up Visa Program. They are also allowed to apply for work/study/visitor visas before their PR status is issued.