2018 Canadian Export Challenge Winners

On October 17th, Canadian Export Challenge Finalists gathered in Ottawa to begin a 2-day intensive global export and expansion program, curated to optimize their connectivity to Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Finalists received signature jackets and attended the Entrepreneurs on the Hill Launch Party to be welcomed alongside Startup Community Leaders, entrepreneurs, industry partners, and delegates from across Canada.

During the evening, the group convened at the Shaw Centre for their official orientation and interviews with UPS Canada. On October 18th, the Finalists enjoyed a photo and meet and greet with the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, before connecting with growth partners, polishing their pitch with expert mentors in the UPS Lounge, and hitting up the red carpet for media interviews.

National Winner

$10,000 Grand Prize and up to $100,000 In In-Kind Support Awarded

Margaret Magdesian, Founder & CEO, Ananda Devices

The National Winner is Margaret Magdesian, Founder and CEO of ANANDA (Advanced Nano Design Applications) Devices, a Montreal-based company that combines expertise in organ-on-a-chip and stem cells technology to develop mini brains and mini spinal-cords-on-a-chip, enabling more efficient testing of drugs directly on patients’ derived tissues. ANANDA Devices’ mission is to increase research capacity and competitiveness by developing and applying nano- and microtechnology platforms to improve biomedical research and diagnostics.

Regional Winners

$1,000 Prizes Awarded

Hybrid Power Solutions 

A Toronto-based company revolutionizing the industrial market place by providing its customers with a completely fuel free, portable, job site power source. As a clean new alternative to traditional fossil fuel generators, the Batt Pack offers 4000W. It is designed to last a complete work shift and recharge in 3 hours. 

Orbitless Drive Inc. 

A Vancouver-based company that created a revolutionary new high-efficiency gearbox technology platform. Its various benefits enhance the performance of drivetrains for motion control, robotics, electric vehicles, wind power, or anywhere gear motors are used. 

MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies 

A Halifax-based company that prevents injuries related to repositioning patients and residents in wheelchairs and hospital beds. Paraglide™ allows wheelchair users to move freely from a slouched position to an upright position – safely, independently and with dignity.

Umay CARE

An Edmonton-based company that created the “Umay REST®” – “a toothbrush for eye care” to empower users to take control of their eye health restoring damage done by devices. Umay REST® combines thermal therapy with Thermal Meditation™ to reset the effects of screen time and redefine self-care. 

Toronto Accelerator Agenda

The Toronto event took place on September 12th at the MaRS Discovery District. It’s always inspiring to see first-hand the global ambitions of Canada’s thriving entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-led companies. Check out the photos here from the event! You can also re-watch your favourite moments from the Canadian Export Challenge in Toronto. Click here for the morning session, mid day session, and afternoon session. Click here for the Toronto recap E-blast!

Calgary Accelerator Agenda

The Calgary event took place on September 18th at the Event Centre, University of Calgary. It’s always inspiring to see first-hand the global ambitions of Canada’s thriving entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-led companies. Check out the photos here from the event! You can also re-watch your favourite moments from the Canadian Export Challenge in Toronto. Click here for the morning recording and here for the afternoon recording. Click here for the Calgary recap E-blast!

Montreal Accelerator Agenda

The Montreal event took place on September 24th at the ClubSaint-James. It’s always inspiring to see first-hand the global ambitions of Canada’s thriving entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-led companies. Check out the photos here from the event! You can re-watch your favorite moments from the Canadian Export Challenge in Montreal. Click here for the morning recording and here for the afternoon recording. Click here for the Montreal E-blast recap!

Halifax Accelerator Agenda

The Halifax event took place on September 26th at Pier 21. It’s always inspiring to see first-hand the global ambitions of Canada’s thriving entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-led companies. Check out the photos here from the event! You can re-watch your favourite moments from the Canadian Export Challenge. Click here for the morning recording and here for the afternoon recording. Click here for the Halifax E-blast recap!

Vancouver Accelerator Agenda

The Vancouver event took place on October 2nd at the Imperial Theatre. It’s always inspiring to see first-hand the global ambitions of Canada’s thriving entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-led companies. Check out the photos here from the event! You can re-watch your favorite moments from the Canadian Export Challenge in Vancouver. Click here for the morning recording and here for the afternoon recording. Click here for the Vancouver E-blast recap!

2018 Cohort Summary

Entrepreneur Profile

  • Attendees are CEOs and Co-Founders of their companies
  • 48 Percent are women, 16 percent are newcomers, 5 percent have disabilities, 4 percent are LGBTQ, 3 percent are Indigenous, Inuit or Métis

Company Profile

Annual Sales:

  • 50 percent have less than $1,000,000
  • 39 percent have no current sales
  • 8 percent have $1,000,000 to $9,999,999 in sales

Top industries:

  • Services – non-industrial
  • Knowledge-based
  • Consumer goods
  • Food and beverage
  • Media and entertainment
  • Med-tech
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Agriculture
  • Financial services

Export Status:

  • 41 percent sell goods, services, or make investments outside of Canada
  • 41 percent plan to sell goods, services, or make investments outside of Canada
  • 11 percent have an interest in selling goods or services outside of Canada, but do not yet have a timeframe

Employees:

  • 76 percent have 1 to 9 employees  (434 companies)
  • 12 percent have 10 to 49 employees (66 companies)
  • 11 percent have no employees (62 companies)
  • 1 percent have 100 – 249 employees (5 companies)

Global Ambitions

Top Export Destinations:

  • US (56 percent)
  • China (11 percent)
  • UK (5 percent)
  • India (4 percent)
  • France (4 percent)
  • Mexico (2 percent)

Top Challenges in going global:

  • Finding customers
  • Accessing growth financing 
  • Creating an international strategy
  • Building commercialization structure to scale

Topics of Interest

  • Access to local business networks
  • Accessing and working with agile teams
  • Building partnerships with multinationals
  • Creating contracts
  • Cross border warehousing
  • Distributors (setup, negotiations, etc.)
  • Duties, tariffs, taxes, and other logistics of shipping
  • eCommerce
  • Exporting services to other countries
  • First time product launch in export market
  • Global sales software
  • Hiring global talent
  • Impact of President Trump
  • Innovative business models and structures for global expansion
  • Insights on global opportunities
  • International distribution
  • International sales strategies
  • Growth hacking
  • Funding (non-dilutive or overseas expansion, inventory, working capital and fulfillment)
  • Marketing
  • Market access
  • Partnership pitfalls
  • Preparing to export
  • Protecting IP
  • Raising capital
  • Scaling products
  • Trade missions
  • Trade shows