Canadian Export Challenge Launches to support more than 15,000 Entrepreneurs to Scale Global Businesses in 2019

February 21, 2019 | Startup Canada, in collaboration with UPS, Export Development Canada, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service launched today the second annual Canadian Export Challenge to showcase and support 15,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses to go global.

Although there are 2.3 million entrepreneurs in Canada and more than 1 million businesses, fewer than 10 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada export, yet those that do are more likely to survive and scale.

Following a successful pilot in 2018, this year the Canadian Export Challenge is scaling to more cities to support more entrepreneurs, with stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Ottawa, Montréal, and Fredericton in May and June, and a Final Showdown in Toronto in October.

“As the most connected G7 country with the greatest ease of doing business, Canadian entrepreneurs have a global advantage out of the starting gate,” said Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder, and President of Startup Canada. “We are proud to work alongside strong government and industry partners to launch the 2019 Canadian Export Challenge, to grow global ambitions, increase export readiness, accelerate access to global markets, and support entrepreneurs to ‘Own The Podium’ globally.”

Entrepreneurs can apply to join the 2019 Global Entrepreneur Cohort with rolling deadlines of February 28th, March 31st, April 30th, and May 31st. Accepted entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch to win $25,000 in cash and up to an additional $100,000 in support, attend a 1-day Global Accelerator to learn from and connect with Canada’s global expansion support providers, and gain privileged access to trade missions, market intelligence, global accelerators, and a digital and in-person partner network to help them scale-up in 2019.

“Innovative entrepreneurs across Canada are developing state-of-the-art products and services and we want to ensure they also have the tools they need to thrive in a competitive global environment,” said The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification. “Through initiatives like the Canadian Export Challenge, we are positioning small and medium-size businesses to take advantage of emerging opportunities in markets around the globe so they can grow and create jobs here at home.”

“Our global brand is strong again and the world wants and needs more Canada. Now, with 14 trade agreements opening up 62% of the global market, Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses have access to more customers than ever before. Our government wants to increase Canada’s overseas exports by 50% by 2025. To do this we are investing $1.1 billion to get Canadian entrepreneurs export-ready,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “The Canadian Export Challenge is a great opportunity for our brightest entrepreneurs to showcase their ambitions and go global. I encourage entrepreneurs across Canada to apply for the ‘2019 Global Entrepreneur Cohort.”

UPS Canada and Export Development collaborated with Startup Canada on the 2018 CXC. Following the successful pilot, both organizations have doubled down on their support and have welcomed the Trade Commissioner Service to complete the CXC Team.

“UPS Canada remains strongly focused on supporting Canadian entrepreneurs and encouraging them to leverage opportunities for growth in global markets,” says Paul Gaspar, director of small business at UPS Canada. “With the increase of buying power from around the world, it is important for Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises to be ready and open to a global mindset. The Canadian Export Challenge provides the support entrepreneurs need, to take the first step in competing on a larger scale.”   

“We at EDC believe that small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of Canada’s economy and a key driver to international growth and prosperity,” said Mairead Lavery, President, and CEO at Export Development Canada. “As Canada’s export credit agency, EDC is committed to serving more Canadian companies. That’s why we are thrilled to partner with organizations like StartUp Canada to help companies get the knowledge they need to get out of their comfort zones and explore new markets.”

“To truly thrive, Canadian entrepreneurs need to look beyond our borders and reach more customers around the world,” said Ailish Campbell, Canada’s Chief Trade Commissioner. “The Trade Commissioner Service is proud to join forces with Startup Canada for the Canadian Export Challenge to support entrepreneurs to find and sell to new customers and grow their business globally.”

Entrepreneurs are invited to apply early with rolling acceptance starting February 28, 2019. Visit to learn more and apply. Click here to read the 2018 recap report and click here to watch the highlights.

For more information please contact:
Maddie Stiles
Media Relations
613-627-0787 ext. 105


About the Canadian Export Challenge
The Canadian Export Challenge is a Startup Canada Program in collaboration with UPS, Export Development Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service to support entrepreneurs to become export-ready, connect with the trade and global growth ecosystem, and to gain global exposure through a series of 1-day accelerator events, digital programs, pitch competitions, and an online community. Learn more at

About Startup Canada
Startup Canada is Canada’s entrepreneurship organization. Startup Canada promotes and supports the success and growth of Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs, with a mandate to foster economic growth, competitiveness, and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Since launching, Startup Canada’s programming has directly supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots Startup Community organizations. Working with over 750 ecosystem partners, including accelerators, incubators, research parks, educational institutions, economic development agencies, associations, and government programs, Startup Canada serves entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, industries, and stages of development, with a network reflective of Canada’s diverse population. Learn more at

About UPS
UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at and its corporate blog can be found at To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_Canada on Twitter.

About Export Development Canada
Export Development Canada (EDC) helps Canadian companies of all sizes go, grow, and succeed in their international business. As a financial Crown corporation, EDC provides financing, insurance, bonding, trade knowledge, and matchmaking connections to help Canadian companies sell and invest abroad. EDC can also provide financial solutions to foreign buyers to facilitate and grow purchases from Canadian companies. For more information about how EDC can help your company, call us at 1-888-434-8508 or visit

About the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) is Canada’s largest network of international business professionals – specialists with field access to global business opportunities to help Canadian companies succeed in markets spanning the globe. With over 120 years’ experience, the TCS is the go-to service for international business expertise and helps Canadian companies navigate the complexities of international markets with on-the-ground assistance available in over 160 cities worldwide. With a network of over 1,300 Trade Commissioners around the world, of which a large majority are locally engaged experts in their respective markets, the TCS also includes the Regional Business Network, which provides on-the-ground client service across Canada through 5 Regional Office hubs and Client Service Satellite offices co-located with partners in every province of Canada. By delivering tailored advice, the TCS helps Canadian businesses gain market insight, find new opportunities, connect with key contacts, and resolve business problems, so that they may make better, timelier decisions, propelling them to global growth. For more information, visit


Rachelle Desorcy
Rachelle Desorcy

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