Why is the Start-up Visa program struggling?

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Recently, Stein Monteiro, the Senior Research Associate for the CERC Migration Program at Toronto Metropolitan University, drafted a report with PhD student Bradley Bernard claiming that Canada’s startup visa program is struggling to fill the shoes of its predecessor, the Federal Entrepreneurship Program.

We’ve talked about the Start-Up Visa program quite a few times on this podcast, along with other aspects of the country’s Global Skills Strategy, like the fast-track visas in the Global Talent Stream. But we haven’t talked about the Federal Entrepreneurship Program before.

“The government doesn’t have a great way of being able to kind of parse through and say, ‘this is bad and this is good.’ And, this is, I think, a key part of the problem.”

Yuri Navarro

Monteiro and Bernard’s analysis has found that while the Start-up Visa program has grown over the years, it’s still only half the size of the Federal Entrepreneurship Program in 2010. According to the pair, Start-up Visa is falling short in a number of key areas, including “job creation, global trade opportunities and the long-term viability of businesses.”

Monteiro notes on this podcast that his analysis lacks access to key data for a complete evaluation, but the work raises interesting questions: what are the goals of the program? Can they be properly evaluated? What should the real goals be?

Joining Monteiro with us on the podcast is one Yuri Navarro, the former CEO of NACO who had a hand in designing the program. Navarro provides juicy context into the original intentions behind the Start-up Visa program, how it was designed to achieve them, and why it may have fallen short of its goals. He also alludes to individuals in the ecosystem who were incentivized to take advantage of the Start-up Visa program and its predecessor, but sadly doesn’t name names.

Still, the conversation raises interesting prompts to evaluate the past and current state of the program, hopefully towards its improvement. As Monteiro and Bernard note in their piece, “Whether a policy works depends on its evaluation.”

Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Produced & edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by Float.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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