Jason Kenney has been in Silicon Valley peddling the new Start-up Visa. He tweeted at least a couple of dozen times about it including this picture in front of a new ‘cheeky’ billboard.
The issue for New Brunswick and the Maritimes is whether or not we will use this visa program to attract bright immigrant entrepreneurs to this region or whether or not all the benefits of the program will accrue to Toronto-Montreal-Vancouver. I suspect the Minister wasn’t pitching Moncton or Truro while in Silicon Valley.
It’s up to us to put this program to our advantage. Our VC programs – groups like the NBIF should immediately indicate they are willing and able to provide the needed funds for immigrant tech entrepreneurs (to get the startup visa you need to have VC interest). We should look to integrate immigrant entrepreneurs into our incubator/accelerator programs. Our universities should think about how they can play a role here.
In the end, if this region was able to attract 20-30 tech entrepreneurs from abroad via this new startup visa, it will be a big deal indeed. Or we can sit back and follow the traditional path.