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Greek misery could mean Canadian immigration gains – June 25, 2012

It was never Greece’s intent, but it has inadvertently provided a generation of talented young Greeks with the means to escape from the country’s rapidly shrinking economy. Greece’s calamity may be Canada’s opportunity. Ottawa intends to take in 250,000 immigrants this year, with plans for a much stronger focus on those who speak English or French well and who have higher educations from recognized schools. In doing this, Canada is following the lead of Australia, which has been targeting similar people for several years.

By teaching its young people English well and providing many of them with a heavily subsidized superior education, the hope was that Greece would become more internationally competitive. What it has done instead is prepare an entire generation to succeed abroad. With youth unemployment topping 25 per cent and economic growth declining for the fifth year in a row, an ominous number of young Greeks want out.

‘Corrupt’ immigration manager convicted of fraud – June 22, 2012

A corrupt former Citizenship and Immigration Canada manager was convicted Friday of taking cash and benefits in exchange for fast-tracking immigration files for a conspirator’s clients. Serré was convicted of 15 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of trust for 10 immigration files processed through the Ottawa CIC office in 2003 and 2004. She was acquitted of one count of bribery. Serré remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing, which will likely be set on July 27. Serré, 41, teamed up with Dakik and his wife, who was also Serré’s esthetician, to form what the judge described as a “joint enterprise” to make money helping immigrants with their immigration files between 2003 and 2004.

Immigration fueling Saskatchewan population jump – June 21, 2012

Saskatchewan is still growing fast, with immigrants making up virtually all of the people who moved to the province in the first three months of the year, Statistics Canada says. According to the federal statistics agency, Saskatchewan grew by 4,470 people in the first quarter of 2012 — and among provinces its growth rate was second only to Alberta. As of April 1, there were 1,072,082 people living in Saskatchewan. With a boost of 19,642 people in the past year, the figure now stands at 1,072,082. The strong growth is driven by immigration, with a net increase of 3,436 people coming from other countries.

Some immigrant appeals to be cut – June 21, 2012

New legislation introduced Wednesday by the Conservative government gives greater powers to the immigration and public safety ministers to determine who gets to come and stay in Canada. It’s the latest in a series of changes that have given the immigration minister in particular far more individual say over immigration matters.

The new law, called the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, seeks to cut off avenues for convicted criminals to appeal their deportation.

Currently, anyone who is not a Canadian citizen and is sentenced to less than two years in prison can appeal the automatic deportation order that comes along with a jail term. But the new law would see that right cut off for sentences of greater than six months, even for permanent residents who have been in Canada for decades. The government argues that convicted criminals abuse the existing appeal system to avoid deportation and, in the meantime, remain in Canada for years.

The proposed legislation also makes it more difficult for those convicted of crimes abroad — and their families — to get into Canada.

Canada postpones installation of recording devices in airports and border crossings – June 21, 2012

The Canadian government has decided to postpone their plans to install new cameras and audio recording devices at border crossings and airports. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced that he had told the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to postpone the plans until a study of the privacy implications is complete.

According to Assistant privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier, in order to satisfy the privacy office, the CBSA must provide evidence that there is a need to collect audio and video recordings of travellers and show that the information collected will be handled properly.

Crackdown on immigration fraud in Canada continues – June 20, 2012

Canada is continuing its crusade against immigration fraud with ministers welcoming criminal charges against a number of individuals in Montreal and Winnipeg. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has brought charges against a number of individuals under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Criminal Code, including inducing, aiding or abetting individuals to misrepresent themselves to the Government of Canada for immigration purposes, and with possessing property obtained by crime. Bill C-35, which came into force last June, makes it an offence for anyone other than an accredited immigration representative to conduct business, for a fee or other consideration, at any stage of an immigration application or proceeding.

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          Immigration consultants hit with dozens of charges as CBSA fraud crackdown continues – June 19, 2012

Among those charged was Brad Jacobson, the president of an immigration consulting firm started in 2009 with financing from a loan program run by the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics. Mr. Jacobson faces 23 counts of immigration fraud for allegedly setting up fake businesses to bring foreign workers to Canada. The CBSA said it suspected more than 300 foreign nationals had fallen victim to the scheme.

An alleged associate, Kendall Schmidt, has been charged with 8 counts. The two had “developed false businesses and fraudulently submitted documents to lure foreign workers to Canada,” the CBSA said.

Meanwhile, Carol Massoud appeared in court in Montreal accused of 61 charges. She had allegedly helped up to 30 families commit residency fraud so they could qualify for Canadian passports without actually living in Canada. She was also charged with acting as an immigration representative without authority.

          Immigration scam promised Nepalese high-paying jobs in Alberta’s oilpatch – June 20, 2012

A Canadian man from Nepal says more than 100 people from the Asian country have been financially ruined in a scheme that promised them high-paying jobs in the Alberta oilpatch.  Bradley Jacobson and Kendall Schmidt have appeared in a Winnipeg court charged with various offences under the Criminal Code and Refugee Protection Act.

Yadu Pandey is a Nepalese-Canadian trying to help people back home look for temporary work in Canada. He says the fraud has ruined 111 people in Nepal who paid $1,300 for jobs in the Alberta oilsands.

Canada to raise language bar – June 19, 2012

Requiring new immigrants to speak English or French to a higher level will improve their economic prospects say ministers but others fear the policy will target favoured nationalities. The Canadian government’s plan to raise language fluency requirements for prospective skilled immigrants has some experts concerned that it may tilt migration patterns toward the English-speaking world.

Canada’s immigration minister Jason Kenney said earlier this year that some immigration applicants will soon have to demonstrate high levels of English or French fluency to gain entry to Canada. The proposed new requirements would apply to the largest class of immigrants, the federal skilled worker category, which accounts for nearly 100,000 of the roughly 250,000 immigrants who come to Canada every year.

The decision is aimed at improving economic outcomes for immigrants in the country, which have been steadily declining over the last 30 years. Today a new immigrant earns only about 60% of the wages of a similarly educated Canadian-born citizen, compared with nearly 90% three decades ago. Meanwhile a flood of research has shown that language ability is one of the best predictors of rapid integration and economic success.

Foreigners are valued customers – June 19, 2012

In 2010, citizens from the Philippines, China and India made up more than 57 per cent of provincial nominee immigrants to Manitoba. By 2050, Citigroup projects that China and India will be the two largest economies in the world while the Philippines will be the tenth largest. Canada, which was no. 10 in the world in 2010, will drop out of the top 10 by 2030.

If economic growth in the Philippines, China and India results in people staying in these countries or immigrating to these countries, immigration to Canada will either dry up or undergo a massive shift. It is not too late for Canada to remain competitive in attracting the world’s best and the brightest. In order to do so, however, a shift is needed in government’s attitude towards immigration.

Canada Ranked 4th of the Most Peaceful Countries Globally – June 18, 2012

According to the annual Global Peace Index (GPI), Canada was ranked world’s 4th most peaceful country. Canada has moved up three spots from last year, now in 4th place, following Iceland, Denmark, and New Zealand.

When determining a country’s peacefulness, the report uses a number of indicators including access to weapons, organized conflict, violent demonstrations, political instability, and conflicts fought. For the majority of indicators, Canada ranked as 1st, the lowest and most ‘peaceful’ ranking possible. The 2012 index ranked 158 nations while the 2011 list included 153 countries.


Controversial US immigration clause allowed to stand – June 26, 2012

The US Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law on Monday but let stand a key provision allowing officers to do spot checks of people’s identity papers.

The Arizona law has aroused intense controversy because of a particular provision, that requires police to stop and demand proof of citizenship of anyone they suspect of being illegal, even without probable cause.

Justices rejected a series of other provisions, including those that would have criminalized immigrants for failing to register with the federal government, or for seeking work or working without proper documents. They also struck down a clause that would have allowed police to arrest those suspected of being deportable without a warrant.

U.S. admits 1 million immigrants a year, far more than any nation – June 25, 2012

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the United States accepted 1,062,040 legal permanent residents in fiscal year 2011, a number that has been fairly steady over the past few years. Of this number, roughly 45 percent were new arrivals and about 55 percent were people already in the United States whose status was upgraded to “permanent.”

Separately, the United States admitted more than 4.4 million people in 2010 on a long-term temporary basis, either for employment or study. This number does not include a much larger total (roughly 42 million people) admitted for shorter stays, including visitors for pleasure or short-term business.

Using 2009 statistics, the only nation that came close to the United States in permanent immigrant inflows was Germany. That year, the United States had 1,130,800 permanent immigrants, compared with 606,314 for Germany. So the United States had numbers about twice as big. The third-place finisher, Spain, had 469,300.

Immigrants Are Working At Higher Rates than Non-Immigrants In Calif., Study Says – June 21, 2012

Latino and Asian immigrants are working at higher rates than non-immigrants in California, a new study says. Sixty-one percent of immigrants over age 16 are employed versus 57 percent of non-immigrants in the Golden State, according to a report from the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC). For Latino and Asian men, the difference is even greater. About 82 percent of all Latino and Asian immigrant men (ages 25 to 64) are employed, compared with 74 percent of U.S.-born Latino and Asian men.

Other impressive statistics about immigrants include the study’s finding that immigrants account for 38 percent of all Californians with a Ph.D. degree. Also, California immigrants are entrepreneurial and more likely to create their own jobs than U.S.-born workers. Latino and Asian immigrants (age 25 to 64) “both have a self-employment rate of 12 percent, which is higher than the rates for non-immigrant Latinos and Asians (seven percent and eight percent, respectively),” says the study.

Romney Lays Out Immigration Plan Before National Latino Leaders – June 21, 2012

Before a national gathering of Latino leaders Thursday, Mitt Romney said that as President, he would give undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors the chance to stay in the country permanently –and an eventual path to U.S. citizenship– but only if they serve in the U.S. military.

His announcement came less than a week after President Obama said he was going to give a two-year reprieve to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors before the age of 16 years old, as long as they met other criteria, including those currently in school or have graduated from high school as well as serving in the military.

          Related article: President Obama to Allow Young Illegal Immigrants to Remain in the U.S. – June 19, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the United States as undocumented immigrants will be allowed to remain in the country and obtain work permits without fear of deportation, under a new policy of June 16, 2012 by the Obama administration. The new policy was announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and brought into effect immediately. Undocumented immigrants up to 30 years old who came to the United States as children and do not pose a risk to national security would be eligible to stay in the country and allowed to apply for U.S. work permits under a two-year deferral from deportation.

US apologizes for discriminatory laws – June 20, 2012

The US House of Representatives on Monday unanimously expressed regret for the passage of discriminatory laws against Chinese immigrants to the United States, particularly the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday that China appreciates the apology, adding that the contributions by Chinese-Americans to US history deserve positive and due evaluation.

Study shows Asian immigrant arrivals now surpass those of Hispanics – June 19, 2012

A new study has found that the US has seen a higher level of Asian immigration to the country than immigration of Hispanics; perhaps revealing a decrease in illegal immigration and increase in demand for highly-skilled workers.

The study by the Pew Research Center, an American think tank details what it describes as “the rise of Asian-Americans”, a highly diverse and fast-growing group that makes up nearly 6 percent of the US population. In 2010, about 430,000 Asian immigrants arrived representing 36 percent of all new immigrants to the US compared to about 370,000 Hispanics about 31 percent of new immigrants to the US.

The Pew analysis believes that the increase in Asian immigrants likely began in 2009 as illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico sharply declined due to increased immigration enforcement and a decrease in job opportunities in the US due to the bad economy. The study also found that roughly 6 in 10 international students studying at US colleges immigrate from Asian countries.

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          Fueled by immigration, Asians are fastest-growing U.S. group – June 19, 2012

A new report shows that Asian Americans are the fastest growing, the best educated and highest income racial group in the US. In fact, the report by the Pew Research Center says that the Asians Americans – most from the Far East and the Indian subcontinent are the most highly educated immigrant group in the US history. Asian Americans are now the nation’s fastest-growing racial group, overtaking Latinos in recent years as the largest stream of new immigrants arriving annually in the United States.

          Fil-Ams are 2nd largest Asian group in US – June 21, 2012

Filipino-Americans, numbering more than three million, are now the second largest Asian group in the United States next to Chinese Americans, a report by the Pew Research Center released Wednesday showed. Filipinos comprise 19.7 percent (3,416,840) of Asians living in the United States while the Chinese accounted for 23.3 percent (4,010,114), according to the report. The other large Asian groups, each estimated at more than a million, included Indians (18.4 percent), Vietnamese (10.0%), Koreans (9.9 percent) and Japanese (7.5 percent).

U.S. to Ease Tourist Visas – June 18, 2012

According to U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech via video at the Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar 2012, his administration is taking steps to ease visa requirements for visitors to the U.S. The Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar 2012 which took place in Jamaica from June 15 to June 16 looked at issues facing regional tourism and methods to improve its competitiveness.

“Tourism is the number one service we export and that is because we have a great product to sell,” he said. The President stressed the importance to the economy of U.S. tourism. “We are also protecting our borders, while trying to make it easier for tourists from more countries to visit without a visa, and we are speeding up visa processing in countries like China and Brazil so more people can come and spend their money here,”, the President concluded.


EU should ‘undermine national homogeneity’ says UN migration chief – June 21, 2012

The EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states, the UN’s special representative for migration has said. Peter Sutherland told peers the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural. He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”. An ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states”, he added.

“It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them. Just as the United Kingdom has demonstrated.”


Delays in making decisions to settlement applications in the UK – June 22, 2012

The global customer service standard for settlement applications is to make decisions on most applications within 12 weeks and all applications within 24 weeks. Due to a significant increase in the number of applications being received, UK Border Agency is currently experiencing a delay in making decisions on settlement applications. It is still making decisions on most applications within 12 weeks, but many applications are taking longer to resolve, which means that it may take up to 24 weeks for a decision to be made.

UK reassures India genuine Tier 4 student applicants welcome – June 21, 2012

This week British diplomats in India claimed that the recent changes to the UK’s immigration policy won’t affect genuine Tier 4 visa students who will find the entry process no tougher than before.  “We haven’t made significant changes when it comes to students applying to UK universities. We have placed further restrictions on students applying to private colleges because of incidence of fraud,” said South Asia regional director of the UK Border Agency Thomas Greig. British deputy high commissioner Mike Nithavrianakis said that despite a competitive global student market the UK is still a popular destination for Indian students. One reason the UK is popular among Indian students is because of a common language. Many Indian students are fluent in English.

Last year, the British high commission issued 30,000 UK Tier 4 student visas in India. Officials said that 75 percent of those who applied were successful.


Poland now accepting Blue Card applications – June 21, 2012

From June 12, 2012 Poland has begun accepting EU blue card applications from highly-skilled third country nationals who have an employment contract in place with a Polish company and possess the required qualifications. The EU Blue Card is still not implemented in all Member States. The Blue Card is a good way to sidestep what can be complicated work and resident visas requirements in many EU Countries. The EU blue card is valid throughout the duration of the employment contract or for a maximum of two years.

The EU hopes that the EU Blue Card scheme will enable the EU to compete effectively against the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for skilled migrants. It is an EU-wide work permit scheme allowing highly-skilled non-EU citizens the right to work and live theoretically in any of the EU countries apart from Denmark, Ireland, and the UK.


Government Reforms Immigration System to Attract Investment and Boost Tourism – June 20, 2012

The Federal Government of Nigeria will soon reform the country’s immigration system to attract foreign investment, boost tourism, increase employment opportunities and better secure Nigeria’s borders. The reforms include a new investor visa category and a visa on arrival program for certain tourist and business visitors.

The investor visa category will be open to foreign nationals making an investment in Nigeria that will add value to the country’s economy. There is no specified minimum investment threshold for the new visa; the required investment is within the discretion of immigration officers. Other discretionary factors include the investment’s proposed duration, its potential for job creation, and its geographic scope.


Australia visa pass mark announced to be lowered – Australian Visa Bureau – June 22, 2012

The Australian Visa Bureau has helped thousands of people move to Australia and, as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced last week that as part of a raft of changes to policy to be rolled out in July, the pass mark for the skilled migration program will be lowered from 65 to 60. The Australia visa system will undergo several other changes as of 1 July as part of DIAC’s new SkillSelect programme. While many thought the Australia immigration changes would make the process of moving to Australia more difficult, DIAC insists the changes will make the system responsive.

Australia census numbers shows increase in immigration – June 22, 2012

New census numbers show that more Asians are immigrating to Australia. There has been an overall increase in Australia’s population due to a resources boom and growing immigration. Figures from the 2011 census showed that Mandarin is now the second most popular language spoken after English. Additionally, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that Western Australia and Queensland both recorded double-digit population growth over the past five years, much higher than the national average of 8.3 percent.

Asians accounted for the biggest increase in immigration to Australia in terms of ethnicity, with Indian and Chinese the fastest-growing groups. The census showed that around one in four of the 21.5 million people surveyed in the census last year were born outside Australia, compared with 22 percent a decade ago. Furthermore, the number of European immigrants coming to Australia has decreased from more than half of arrivals a decade ago to 40 percent last year.

Increase in maintenance funds required from Australian student visa applicants – June 21, 2012

From July 1, as part of stage two of the Knight Review changes to the student visa program, the funds required for prospective Australian student visa applicants will increase from $18,000 to $18,610 per year. This funds requirement is to show that applicants have enough money to cover their living costs while studying in Australia.

The Knight Review is a government appointed strategic review of the student visa program to help reform the Australian immigration student visa program. In December 2010, the Australian Government conducted the first strategic review of the student visa program to help enhance the quality, integrity and competitiveness of the student visa program. Following the review, recommendations to reform the program were submitted to Australian immigration; they then began implementing changes to immigration rules in November 2011.

Australia to Grant Work Visas for Overseas Graduates – June 18, 2012

The Federal government will expand the Skilled Graduate visa scheme next year which will allow overseas students who graduate from Australian universities to be eligible for work visas lasting two to four years. According to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, the expansion of the Skilled Graduate visa scheme would help to enhance the competitiveness of Australia’s $18 billion inbound student industry. The relaxed immigration rules would potentially grant work rights for all 220,000 overseas university students in Australia after they graduate.


New Zealand hikes immigration fees – June 21, 2012

The immigration services of the New Zealand government will hike its fees by 16.7 per cent from July 2. A press statement in this regard was issued by the department of labor. The department claims that the increase in fees is because of the services delivered at the immigration services’ office. New Zealand’s immigration fees will remain broadly comparable to competitor countries, according to the official release. But here is some good news around 80 percent of visitors will not be affected by the increase as most travel visa free.


Canadian gov’t urged to recognize academic credentials of Pinoy workers – June 24, 2012

The Philippines has urged the Canadian government to recognize academic credentials earned in the country to allow increased employment of Filipinos in Canada. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario recently conveyed this message to Canada’s Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, MP Jason Kenney, during their meeting at Canada’s Parliament Hill. Canada is facing a looming shortage in its labor force. A million jobs could be unfilled across Canada in sectors such as mining, oil, and health care by 2021. Degrees earned in some foreign countries, including the Philippines, are downgraded when assessed in Canada, due to differences in curricula and required number of years.

The Philippines has been Canada’s largest source of temporary and skilled workers since 2010 (around 30,000 a year), beating India and China, which previously dominated Canada’s labor market.

PHL immigration bureau allows visa-free stay for Indian intl travelers – June 23, 2012

Indian nationals who are regular international travelers may now enter the Philippines and stay visa-free for 14 days, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said. But the BI said this privilege applies only to Indian travelers who are holders of a valid visa from the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Singapore, or United Kingdom.

Previously, Indian tourists must apply for an entry visa with a Philippine consulate in their port of origin before entering the country. “Indian nationals who avail of this scheme will be granted an initial stay of 14 days, which may be extended for an additional seven days,” the BI chief explained. But David stressed the Indians cannot stay beyond 21 days, the maximum allowable period of stay in the country.

Rise In Employment Rate Reported – June 21, 2012

A survey reported by the National Statistics Office showed that the country’s employment rate improved in April this year compared the same period in 2011. The NSO said the April 2012 Labor Force Survey (LFS) reported a 93.1 percent employment rate compared to 92.8 percent recorded in the same period last year.

Illegal aliens told: Come out and legalize your stay – June 19, 2012

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged yesterday aliens who are illegally staying in the country to regularize their immigration status by updating their stay or applying for the appropriate visa. In a statement, BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. called on the illegal aliens to voluntarily surface and visit any immigration office in their locality to have their stay legalized.


Investors rush for residency – June 26, 2012

The number of mainlanders applying to move here as investor migrants is expected to rise 20% to 4,200 cases by year-end. Midland Immigration Consultancy chief executive Thomas Kut On said since the zero quota set to be slapped on pregnant mainlanders next year will close one of the ways in, more will opt to obtain residency through investment.

In the first quarter, the government received 720 applications for investment migration, and Kut said this should hit 4,200 by year-end, compared to 3,300 for 2011. “Mainland applications will keep rising,” said Kut, adding the demand continues to remain high.

Filipino maid takes fight for permanent residency to Hong Kong’s top court – June 22, 2012

A Filipino domestic worker has won permission to take her fight for permanent residency in Hong Kong to its top court, hoping for a landmark ruling that would let thousands of other foreign maids settle in the southern Chinese financial centre.

The lawyer Mark Daly said a three-member panel of high court judges had allowed his client, Evangeline Banao Vallejos, to appeal against their decision in March upholding Hong Kong’s denial of permanent residency for foreign domestic workers. Other foreign residents can apply to settle permanently after seven years. The judges said the court of final appeal would have to decide whether immigration law was inconsistent with Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Nearly 300,000 foreign maids, mainly from south-east Asian countries, work for Hong Kong families. By the end of 2010, 117,000 had been resident for seven years or more.


Singapore Fast Becoming a Global Education Hub – June 20, 2012

According to a recently-released report by Universitas 21 called “U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems,” Singapore emerges as the top 11th country worldwide and first in Asia for its provision of quality higher education. The survey, which measures 48 countries based on four indicators i.e. resources, environment, connectivity and output, aims to provide insights into areas for improving living standards and how quality higher education systems contribute to new ideas, bilateral trade relations and business activity.

Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin is confident that U21’s latest report not only reaffirms and reflects Singapore’s standing as a global education hub but indicates the high quality of manpower that Singapore contributes to the global business community.

Singapore Gives Startups a Leg Up in China – June 19, 2012

In a bid to help its startups access overseas markets and become global players, the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), a public-private sector collaborative unit which aims to spur entrepreneurship in Singapore, has just launched its first overseas chapter in Beijing.

Just last month, ACE launched the ACE Mentoring Program to complement the ACE Startups Grant. ACE Startups was initiated to help entrepreneurial Singaporeans take the first step to start and build their first business, and in turn, to create valued jobs for Singaporeans. ACE’s mentoring program, on the other hand, was designed to help ACE Startups grow sustainably with mentoring during their first year of operations.