A surprising trend is emerging on the South African emigration scene: female entrepreneurs are leading the pack when it comes to business immigration applications. According to Nicholas Avramis, a licensed Canadian immigration from Beaver Immigration, female business owners make up more than half of the applications for Canadian business visas.
“In the last two years we have noticed that more and more inquiries and application filings are coming from South African females. They are leveraging their innovative ideas and talents to immigrate to Canada.” According to Avramis, the only licensed Canadian consultant based in South Africa, Canada’s Start-Up Visa program is the go-to visa program for immigrant entrepreneurs as it is ideal for female innovators.
Canada’s Start-up visa program is designed to attract immigrant entrepreneurs from around the world who have an innovative business idea, have the potential to create Canadian jobs and can compete on a global scale. Unlike most other investor programs, the Start-Up visa program does not have a mandatory minimum investment obligation. The Government of Canada is rather interested in the innovative idea that the immigrant entrepreneur wants to launch in Canada. With access to capital being a major constraint for most innovators, the Start-Up Visa takes this major hurdle out of the equation for entrepreneurs.
One such innovator is Dr. Shanaz Khan from Cape Town, South Africa. With over 25 years of experience as a dentist, she was accepted into the Start-up Visa program earlier this year through the support of Pycap, a Canadian business incubator that is authorized to support immigrant entrepreneurs’ applications for permanent residency in Canada.
As a successful entrepreneur - owning and operating multiple dental practices in Cape Town – Dr. Khan wanted to focus her efforts on treating Airway-Centered Disorders (ACD) through the revolutionary practice known as airway dentistry. Dr. Khan says, “I have had this idea to create a digital app that will allow health care professionals to collaboratively treat the cause of a patient’s maxillofacial problems, rather than just treating the symptoms through costly dental surgery.
Mr. Stuart Browne, CEO of Pycap, will work with Dr. Khan to hatch her business innovation when she arrives in Toronto later this year with her entire family. “Our registered business incubator has welcomed several South African start-ups this year, with a number of them being female. Beyond the fact that the South Africans we've met are hardworking and have a deep desire to succeed, their transition into Canada should be smooth as they seem to easily assimilate into our business culture” Pycap will provide Dr. Khan with hands-on support by offering marketing, technology, financial management, industry research, and guidance on accessing capital in Canada.
According to the most recent government statistics from Immigration, Refuge and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), from between 2015 to 2021 the ratio between male versus female entrepreneurs admitted into the permanent residency program is close to equal. According to Avramis, this should not be a surprise as the Canadian federal government has a history of promoting female entrepreneurship. Avramis says, “when it comes to immigration as a whole, it is typically the female of the household who is pushing the matter for the family.”