About Startup Global

What is it?

Startup Global (formerly the Canadian Export Challenge) connects a pan-Canadian cohort of entrepreneurs wanting to build global businesses with a network of partners dedicated to their success.

How we do it

Startup Global supports entrepreneurs to go global. We provide global and exporting exposure through workshops, bootcamps, pitch building, advisory support, digital resources and more—all packaged in an accessible and easy-to-use portal.

A look inside the portal

What’s in it for you and your business

For Startup Global 2021, we had one pitch competition with two categories: one for startups and one for scale-ups. The grand finale took place on October 21st, 2021. Read the full recap and watch the recording here.

We are delighted to partner with the embassy of Israel to launch a pitch competition for women-led startups focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Women-led startups from Canada and Israel are invited to apply to win one of four cash prizes worth $2,000 CAD each, as well as gain valuable mentorship guidance throughout the process. Learn more about the competition here.

Deadline: November 12 at 11:59pm ET.

Learn more and apply

Startup Global’s dedicated portal includes workshops on various topics to help you go global. We’ll cover topics like export planning, shipping management, and funding available for entrepreneurs. 

Timeline: Ongoing in the portal. 

Join us for our Pitch Building Bootcamps, Entrepreneurs Going Global Panels, and other relevant sessions that connect you directly with subject matter experts. Get the chance to meet entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled global businesses and learn from their experience. 

Timeline: Stay tuned for details!

Gain access to downloadable content such as how-to guides, entrepreneurial promotions, tools and templates, and practical insights from our partners to help take your business to the next level. 

Timeline: Ongoing in the portal. 

Book a 30-minute one-to-one meeting with one of our industry advisors to get tailored support for your business. Our vast network of industry subject matter experts are invested in your growth and getting your feet planted to be export-ready.

Timeline: Ongoing on the portal.

Pitch Competition

Grand Finale

Thank you for supporting this year's Grand Finale, we're proud to once again support Canada's entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the global stage. In case you missed it, you can relive the experience with a click of a button.

We'd like to congratulate Alt Tex (Startup Winner) and Kind Laundry (Scale-up Winner) for being our 2021 Startup Global Pitch Competition Winners.

Meet the winners


“When Paige, my Co-founder, and our team found out we had won the Startup Canada Canadian Export Challenge, we were ecstatic. We are doing business differently and this comes with unique challenges—from creating new, sustainable alternatives to implementing a circular economy model. Our team is grateful and fired up to continue innovating, most importantly doing so with the intention to help our most important client—the Earth,”

Yamila Franco

- Yamila Franco, Co-founder of Nyoka Design Labs, 2020 Startup Global Winner (Startup)

“From the regional events to the Grand Finale, this experience has been fantastic and I would highly encourage all founders to participate next time! The Canadian Export Challenge has been a great platform to continue to share NanoTess’ story and raise awareness for diabetic foot ulcers,”

Megan Leslie

- Megan Leslie, Co-founder of Nanotess, 2020 Startup Global Winner (Scale-up)

Past events

Our favourite highlights

See Startup Global (formerly the Canadian Export Challenge) in action over the years.

2021 Startup Global

Event recap

2021 Canada-Israel Joint Pitch Competition

Event recap

2020 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now

2019 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now

2018 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now
It’s time to go global

Whether you want to participate in pitch competitions and events, gain access to exporting guides, meet with expert advisors for support, or simply interested in selling overseas as an entrepreneur, Startup Global is your go-to portal to make your business ready to take the global stage. Get on the mailing list to be notified by filling the form below and selecting "Startup Global" in the program list.

Register now

Our program partners

Co-presenting partners

National partners

Community partners


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if you submitted a virtual pitch application but were unsuccessful you are welcome to pitch in person.

Yes – during the application process, you will be able to indicate whether you would like to submit your application in English or in French. If pitching in-person at one of the Tour Stops, applications will be able to pitch in either English or French

Yes you can! We’re excited to travel across Canada this year with five Startup Canada Tour stops. There will be two application form options for the Startup Global Pitch Competition, one for general online applications and a separate option for entrepreneurs who would like to pitch in-person at one of the Startup Canada Tour locations. The winner of each Startup Global Pop-up Pitch gets a cash prize and an automatic spot in the Top 10 to compete at the Grand Finale. Entrepreneurs who are unable to pitch in-person at our Tour stops, may still participate through our virtual application and will have their online application adjudicated in June.  

  • To submit an application for the pitch competition, you’ll simply need to create a free account on our Startup Global Portal.
  • If you are applying to pitch in-person at one of the Startup Canada Tour stops, you will be required to pitch to a panel of judges (with no visual aid accompaniment). Each pitcher will be granted 2 minutes to pitch, followed by 3 minutes of Q&A with a judge(s).The Top 3 pitches will then advance to pitch on the mainstage at each location for a chance to take home $3,000.00. 
  • If you are applying through the Virtual Application, you will be required to include information based on our judging criteria (please see below).

Sign up for our Startup Global newsletter to be the first to know about other opportunities! 

If you were a Semi-Finalist in 2022 but were not selected to be in the Top 10, you can apply again this year. If you were a Top 10 Finalist in 2022, you cannot apply to the Startup Global pitch this year.  However, you are welcome to participate in the Startup Global programming (i.e. access the portal, attend webinars, and be a sounding board for other entrepreneurs).

Our criteria focuses on answering one important question, “What is your potential to scale globally?” To help answer this question, our panel of judges will assess your business under the following criteria:

  • Target market | Is there a clearly defined target market? Businesses that have clearly outlined their target audience will be able to identify the potential for scaling globally, such as understanding the current size and potential growth of a target market, the volatility or stability of a target market, or identifying particular characteristics like a high-priced niche.
  • Objective | All solutions are built to fix an identified problem, but not all problems need scalable solutions. Does your business solve a problem from a short-term trend? Or is there a real long-term need for your solution? Businesses that have the potential to go global have long-run, sustainable business models.
  • Solution | Businesses with a detailed, innovative solution that has a strong unique selling proposition (USP) will be more likely to scale globally. This criteria assesses your overall product or service, for instance, price, convenience, uniqueness, innovation, quality, efficiency, and branding.
  • Leadership | What does your leadership team look like? Does your team, mentors or board of advisors have industry experience, key relationships, and/or prior successes and failures? These are crucial facets in determining whether your business has the support and guidance to help successfully expand globally.
  • Traction (if any) | A key indicator of being able to scale globally is a detailed assessment of the trajectory of a solution. This includes evaluating the minimum viable product (MVP), and existing partners.
  • Competition | Going global means stacking up against an international community of innovators and entrepreneurs; how does your business stand out? Why should a customer choose your solution over another?
  • Ability to go global | This criteria hopes to help our panel of judges ultimately answer the question,“Do you think this contestant has the potential to scale globally?”

Email us at global@startupcan.ca

You are welcome to participate in Startup Global programming, but your business must be based in Canada to be eligible for the Startup Global Pitch Competition.


Yes! Startup Global is 100% free.

Win from an overall cash prize pool of $70,000 to help grow your business. 

  • Tour Stop winners (5 total): $3,000 for each stop
  • Grand Finale:
    • First Place: $30,000.00
    • Second Place: $15,000.00
    • Third Place: $7,500.00
    • People’s Choice Award: $2,500.00

No. Every entrepreneur is able to access the portal and its content without pitching. If you’re interested in pitching, the application to register for the Startup Global Pitch competition is located in the portal and will go live in May.

To join you must register for the Startup Global portal. We’ll ask you a few short questions so that we’re adding content that will be relevant to you and your business. 


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