Monday, October 21, 2013

South Africa & Canada Flag

Canada is Calling South African Tech Entrepreneurs

October 21, 2013
Johannesburg – 1 October 2013 – Canada is actively recruiting foreign entrepreneurs with a unique Startup Visa Program introduced by the Canadian government to assist qualified entrepreneurs interested in relocating to Canada.
Introducing the visa, Jason Kenney, Canadian Immigration Minister, said that Canada was open for business to the world’s start-up entrepreneurs. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential drivers of our economy. We need people who can build companies that will create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale, hence our new startup visa.”
To help South Africans interested in taking advantage of this innovative program, Mike Edwards, one of Canada’s most notable tech entrepreneurs and angel investor, will be here in November to meet with potential candidates. Edwards’ own company, LX Ventures (“LXV” which is listed on the Venture Exchange of the Toronto stock exchange), acquires, integrates and accelerates early stage high growth tech companies, and he is also a director of GrowLab, one of Vancouver’s premier startup accelerators.
“Our objective is to identify and evaluate new software companies which have graduated from the incubator stage and have earned enough early-stage revenue to show that they are sustainable businesses. These are the business we feel would benefit from investment and relocating to Canada,” he said.
He explained that to be eligible for the Startup Visa Program, the Canadian government required them to obtain a minimum level of funding: $75,000 CDN from angel investors and $200,000 CDN from venture capital organisations.
“I’m interested on behalf of both LX Ventures and GrowLab. While I’m in South Africa I also want to meet with other businesses like mine – startup incubators and accelerators – that can continue to scout for potential prospects after we have returned to Canada. I’m also happy to meet with economic development organisations that are interested in supporting the Startup Visa initiative.”
A member of Edwards’ team joining him on this trip is Gary Boddington, a South African entrepreneur who co-founded a business in his garage in Durban and sold it to the London-listed Sage Plc. Boddington now lives in Canada where he experienced essential support as a startup business and is now paying forward his good fortune to fellow South African entrepreneurs.
“I co-founded a South African business, sold it to a global company, and it currently derives revenues – and therefore taxes – for South Africa from a global customer base. In my humble opinion, South Africa could use more of that,” said Boddington.
He described the new Startup Visa Program as an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs who are developing software and earning early stage revenue. “It will enable them to gain access to the North American markets, receive critical funding, compete on a level playing field with other global developers, find a mentor and live in Canada so as to be close to the market.”
With both Seattle and Silicon Valley relatively close to Vancouver, it is an increasingly attractive tech hub for North America, hence Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook all opening local development offices there.
How to get involved…
Entrepreneurs, to get involved simply complete an application at Every application will be assessed and if you qualify – or potentially qualify – you will be invited to meet with Edwards and his team. It’s definitely worth a shot – DO IT!
Meetings will take place in the following cities on the dates listed:
·         Cape Town – Monday 18 November 2013
·         Durban – Tuesday 19 November 2013
·         Johannesburg – Friday 22 November 2013

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