You may be wondering what’s behind the IMPACT in the IMPACT Startup Visa (ISV) Accelerator Program, and what does it mean that Spring Activator is the only impact-first designated business incubator under Canada’s Start-up Visa immigration pathway?
Simply put, the businesses we accept into the program must be making a positive impact on people and/or the environment, and we are the only designated organization to prioritize impact in this way.
This means that as an entrepreneur interested in the IMPACT Startup Visa Program, you should be able to answer the following question: How is your business going to make the world a better place?
During the application process, we evaluate your business’s impact by examining the following:
The WHY—what is the purpose and intent behind your business?
The WHAT—what is the business itself (the product or service) and to what extent is it solving a problem?
The HOW—what kind of processes do you have in place to run your business (such as your human resources and procurement policies)?
The WHO—who is your business serving (for example, marginalized or traditionally underrepresented communities)?
We understand that you may not have all of this figured out in the early stages of your business. The ISV Program is meant to help candidates crystallize and amplify their impact on people and the planet. Hammering out a solid theory on change and impact measurement approaches are all part of the journey you are taken through as part of the IMPACT Startup Visa Accelerator’s programming—that’s part of our expertise!
What we are looking for in candidates is namely the intention and thought behind the positive impact your business has and will have on the world. Demonstrable results are an added bonus.
As such, we do not offer strict guidelines by which to tailor your application. We’d like you to illustrate your company’s impact for us in your own unique way.
To get a better idea of the types of businesses we have accepted into the program in the past, we invite you to meet some of our current and past program participants:
Spring Activator also happens to be one of the few designated business incubators for the Canadian Start-up Visa that accepts businesses from nearly all industries.
We have had a number of entrepreneurs, for example, in:
Being impact-focused, there are a few industries that are not eligible for the IMPACT Startup Visa Program, including tobacco and mining.
If you’re looking to get a better idea of some frameworks that businesses around the world use to define and measure their impact, here are a few we can recommend:
The B Impact Assessment – This tool is used to measure a company’s impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers. It’s one of the key components used by B Lab to certify B Corporations such as Spring Activator. B Corps are businesses that have been verified to meet high standards of impact.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – These goals, released in 2015 by the United Nations, serve as a blueprint for advancing the well-being and sustainability of life on our planet. They cover numerous areas such as ending poverty, improving health and education, and preserving biodiversity. Each goal is made up of various indicators which businesses can seek to address through their activities.
SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises – In 2020, the United Nations Development Fund took the SDGs a step further and developed this set of measurable standards for businesses and investors to integrate impact into their decision-making. Covering governance, management, transparency, and strategy, these practices provide organizations with a framework to help advance the SDGs.
We regularly hold info. sessions where you can tune in live to learn more about the IMPACT Startup Visa Program. If you’re interested in receiving an update when we schedule our next session, register below.