Runway Accelerator Program Outline

Gain access to expert mentorship, webinars, workshops, and more from a program tailored to fit your business needs. Start building your innovation ecosystem before you arrive. Move your business to Canada the right way with Innovation Factory’s Runway Accelerator.

Program Overview

The Runway Accelerator is a six-month comprehensive program that aims to assess, select, and support start-ups as they work through the Start-up Visa Program. Companies accepted into this program receive customized services and resources that help them set their business up for success in Canada, along with a Letter of Support.

These services and resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Access to expert advisors for coaching and mentoring
  • Designated Innovation Advisor to assist in navigating our resources
  • Virtual webinars and workshops
  • Partner introductions and ecosystem opportunities

Program Eligibility

Start-up Visa Program

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program offers Canadian Permanent Residence to immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build a business in Canada. The program targets companies that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale. If you have an innovative business, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Bring enough money to settle

We strongly recommend that you review the Start-up Visa Program to determine if your company is eligible before applying to the Runway Accelerator.

Some people may not be allowed to come to Canada for security or medical reasons. They’re considered “inadmissible” under Canada’s immigration law. Innovation Factory may refuse your application if you are inadmissible to Canada.

Runway Accelerator

To be eligible for the Runway Accelerator, you must:

  • Be eligible to apply for the Start-up Visa Program (see above)
  • Pass our initial interview and external review
  • Pass our due diligence assessment

Our Preferences

Innovation Factory is prioritizing applications from businesses that:

  • Have a product or service on the market
  • Have intellectual property or plan on creating intellectual property
  • Are beyond the “Idea Stage” in their development
  • Work in one of our priority sectors

Note: You are able to apply to the Runway Accelerator program if you are already in Canada for work or study.

Program Fees


Runway Accelerator Application Process

1. Submit Your Application

You must apply to be considered for the Runway Accelerator. Our team will review your application and determine whether your business is eligible.

Time required to complete stage: ~2 weeks (from the day you submit your application)

2. Initial Interview and Review

If you are eligible, we will schedule an interview to learn more about your business. Afterwards, we will meet with our expert advisors to determine whether we will proceed with your business.

Time required to complete stage: ~2 weeks (from the day of your interview)

3. Due Diligence Assessment

If you pass our interview and review, we will request documents that confirm the applicants and business are eligible for the Start-up Visa Program and Runway Accelerator.

Time required to complete stage: This stage depends on the applicant’s ability to submit the required information in a timely manner. Estimate ~2 weeks.

4. Sign Agreement and Invoicing

If you pass our due diligence assessment, we will send you our Agreement to review and sign and invoice you for the applicable program fees.

Time required to complete stage: ~2 weeks from the day you finish submitting due diligence documents.

5. On-boarding

Congratulations! You are officially in the Runway Accelerator. We will meet to discuss a starting date for our six-month engagement and introduce you to your Expert Advisor and Client Services Manager.

Time required to complete stage: Once accepted to the program, and you have signed your agreement and paid the invoice, you will be able to start the Runway Accelerator within 1 month.

Due Diligence

Innovation Factory is recognized as a designated organization approved to support start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program. We conduct a thorough assessment of the companies that apply to the Runway Accelerator to ensure they have the potential to succeed in coming to Canada. To support this assessment, we will ask companies to provide various documents to our team for review. These documents are only viewed by our team and are not made public at any time.

The documents required include, but are not limited to:

  • Business plans
  • Pitch presentations
  • Corporate documents
  • Employee benefit plans
  • Employee financial information
  • Intellectual property documents
  • Customer and supplier information

Note: All employees of Innovation Factory are bound by an internal NDA. By submitting an application, you are giving permission to Innovation Factory to confidentially store and review this information for the purposes of your application to the program. You are also representing that all the information provided is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.

Program Details

Once our engagement begins, you will have access to all Innovation Factory has to offer. Your Innovation Advisor will help your team navigate all of our client resources, including upcoming events, workshops, and webinars. You will meet regularly with your Expert Advisor to work on key business milestones. Throughout our engagement, your dedicated support team will continue to connect you to partners in our ecosystem, introduce you to exclusive opportunities, and help you build your network.

While you prepare your business for Canada, our team will be preparing your Letter of Support – a key document required for your application to Canada’s Start-up Visa Program. Your business will receive the Letter of Support within the first month of our engagement.

We encourage everyone to visit Academy at Innovation Factory, our multidisciplinary learning platform. Academy features the courses you need to get your business moving; everything from sales, marketing, brand building, and design to legal, operations, and human resources. This platform is free to register and offers our clients more opportunities to learn.

Note: Participating in the Runway Accelerator does not guarantee that your Start-up Visa Program application will be approved by the Government of Canada.

Work permits for Start-up Visa applicants

You can apply for a short-term work permit under the International Mobility Program before submitting an application for permanent residence under the Start-up Visa Program.

Only foreign nationals who have received a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support issued by a designated entity may be considered for a short-term work permit. The designated entity must support the request for a work permit.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for permanent residence first.

Learn more about short-term work permits.

Processing times for applications

We strongly recommend that you check the processing times for short-term work permit and start-up visa applications.

Check processing times

Instructions (Start-up Visa):

  1. Select “Economic immigration” application type.
  2. Select “Start-up visa” economic class application.
  3. Click “Get processing time” button.

Instructions (Short-term work permits):

  1. Select “Temporary residence (visiting, studying, working)” application type.
  2. Select “Work permit (from outside Canada)” or “Work permit from inside Canada (initial and extension)” temporary residence application (choose the applicable option).
  3. Select the country you are applying from (if outside of Canada).
  4. Click “Get processing time” button.

Applying doesn't need to be difficult!

As a designated organization, Innovation Factory collects and reviews a lot of information to assess your company’s viability for the Runway Accelerator. To make your application easier, we’ve put together a list of information you should have on hand when applying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Congratulations! Our engagement will begin one month after you have been accepted into the Accelerator. This allows time to schedule an official start date, prepare your file, and secure your Expert Advisor and Client Services Manager.

We understand that you have a business to run. The time dedicated each week can vary and is dependent on what you need and what you can spare. As one of our clients, we want you to leverage all that Innovation Factory has to offer, including our programming, webinars, and networking opportunities. It’s about the quality of time spent with us, not the quantity.

We’re glad you’ve made it to Canada! As a participant of the Runway Accelerator, we’ll provide you with up to six months of workspace to support your business. If you require a specialized workspace (wet lab, warehouse, etc.) we will contribute to the acquisition of that space.

A Letter of Support from a designated organization is required to apply to the Start-up Visa Program. Innovation Factory will issue a Letter of Support to businesses within one month of starting the Runway Accelerator.

As a designated organisation approved to support entrepreneurs applying for the Start-up Visa Program, we need to do our due diligence to ensure that your business is eligible. We will review the documents you provide and determine whether the Runway Accelerator is right for you. Rest assured that we keep your documents secured and they are not shared externally to the Runway team.

It was a pleasure working with you, but we aren’t going anywhere. As a Canadian business in the start-up ecosystem, Innovation Factory will continue to support you as a client and provide you with the services and programs you need to succeed in Canada.

Why should I move my business to Hamilton?

Hamilton, Ontario, boasts a diverse and ever-expanding economy. Built on a foundation of advanced manufacturing and highly-skilled citizens, Hamilton continues to attract new and innovative businesses in a variety of industries. Learn more about what Hamilton has to offer your business.

Ready to apply?

Moving your business to Hamilton, Ontario, is a big deal. We are here to make sure you’re ready. If you think your company is a proper fit, submit your application and start your journey to business in Canada.