Canadian Export Challenge launches to support 2,500 Canadian entrepreneurs to go global

July 19, 2018, OttawaThis fall, Startup Canada​ along with Export Development Canada, UPS Canada​®, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Servicewill launch the Canadian Export Challengeto showcase and support the global ambitions of 2,500 Canadian entrepreneurs.

Less than 10 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada export; however, those that do are responsible for $68 billion (25 percent) of total exported goods and are four times more likely to survive beyond five years in business. According to the 2018 Startup Canada Census, lack of information and expertise, and not knowing where to even begin, are the top barriers cited by businesses that do not sell outside of Canada. In direct response, the Canadian Export Challenge has launched to help entrepreneurs go global.

Entrepreneurs across Canada can apply for the ‘2018 Global Entrepreneur Cohort’. Accepted entrepreneurs have the chance to win $10,000 in cash and $100,000 in support, can attend a 1-Day Global Accelerator in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, or Halifax, and will gain privileged information about trade missions, market intelligence, initiatives, and a partner network to help them grow.

“Canada’s export and global growth ecosystem is uniting to propel these entrepreneurs to go global by accelerating access to markets, mentors, customers, and capital,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO of Startup Canada. “Entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and industries will become our ‘Team Export Canada’ and benefit from the support of government, industry, and non-profit partners to scale.”

“Our Government understands the competitive challenges facing small and medium-sized businesses to be export ready and is setting the right conditions for Canadian entrepreneurs to compete, partner, and prosper in the global marketplace.” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “The Canadian Export Challenge is an exciting opportunity for our brightest entrepreneurs to showcase their ambitions and go global. I encourage entrepreneurs across Canada to apply for the ‘2018 Global Entrepreneur Cohort’ to gain the tools and support they need to scale up and be export ready, creating good middle-class jobs.”

“Increased buying power internationally has made it important for Canadian businesses to diversify globally,” says Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business, UPS Canada. “Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to leverage the resources and partnerships provided by the Canadian Export Challenge and venture into the global marketplace.”

“Through our network of more than 160 offices globally, Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service helps entrepreneurs succeed in new markets abroad.” said Ailish Campbell, Canada’s Chief Trade Commissioner. “We help entrepreneurs avoid costly mistakes and introduce entrepreneurs to the right people in market they otherwise could not have met. Our CanExport program also covers up to half of the cost of new market development.”

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification is the champion within the Government of Canada for this initiative. “The Canadian Export Challenge is about positioning small and medium-size businesses and entrepreneurs for success in today’s increasingly global and competitive market,” said Minister Carr. “This unique public-private-non-profit partnership should trigger more interest in exporting and put the right tools directly in the hands of hard-working people from every corner of the country so they can tap global markets, compete and win.”

“Small and medium-sized businesses are an important part of Canada’s economic engine and we know that when these companies export, they do better, and the whole economy benefits,” said Benoit Daignault, President and CEO, Export Development Canada. “The reality, however, is that too few SMEs engage in business abroad. This signals an opportunity and an imperative to do more, to give these companies the knowledge and resources they need to explore new markets with confidence. That’s what the Canadian Export Challenge is all about and we’re excited to be part of it.”

Entrepreneurs are invited to apply early with rolling acceptance until the cohort is full. Final close off of applications is September 5, 2018. Visit learn more and apply.

For more information please contact:

Maddie Stiles
Media Relations
613-627-0787 ext. 105

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is the national rallying community and voice for Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2012, Startup Canada has grown to represent more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots communities from coast to coast to coast. Through digital programs and flagship events, Startup Canada is the network promoting, inspiring, educating, connecting and giving a voice to Canada’s entrepreneurs; supporting them to start, operate and scale businesses that build a better Canada for the world today and for future generations. For more information, visit

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. Counting with a network of more than 1,300 Trade Commissioners working globally, whom a large majority are locally engaged experts in their market, 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, resolve business problems, in order for Canadian businesses to make better and timely decisions, propelling them to global growth. For more information, visit