Visa program opens doors to overseas talent

posted on October 15, 2014

By Brenda Bouw, the Globe and Mail | Link to Article

By Brenda Bouw, the Globe and Mail | Link to Article

When Ukrainian-born entrepreneurs Stanislav Korsei and Oleksandr Zadorozhnyi decided to uproot their lives and move to Canada last fall in search of a better business environment, they didn’t imagine how well it would go – at least not so quickly.

In July, the duo behind Zeetl, which provides technology to enable voice conversations on social media, became the first recipients of Canada’s new Start-Up Visa program, which provides permanent residency to immigrant entrepreneurs and their families.

Three months later, Zeetl was bought by Hootsuite Media Inc., one of Canada’s most successful social media companies, for an undisclosed price.

Mr. Korsei and Mr. Zadorozhnyi are now working with Hootsuite to integrate their new voice technology into its social media platform, the launch of which is expected later this year.

“In my mind, I imagined it would be way harder than it appeared to be,” Mr. Korsei said about his whirlwind experience becoming a new entrepreneur in Canada.

There was a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, and Mr. Korsei said they worked hard to prove their business was worthy of Canadian investment that would open the door to citizenship. Still, it all happened quicker than he anticipated.

“We’re talking about immigration to another country … relatively, it was fast and easy,” Mr. Korsei said. Both men made the move with their spouses and a child apiece.

Mr. Korsei said there is less red tape when doing business in Canada versus Ukraine. He said the adjustment has been smooth, since he was already doing business with partners in North America. He and his wife have also travelled a lot, so there wasn’t much culture shock when they came to live in Canada.

Asked whether he is glad to be out of the Ukraine during this time of turmoil with Russia, Mr. Korsei said simply, “I am happy that my family is here with me in Canada.”

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