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

" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen>

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! Startup Global is 100% free.

The Startup Global program is designed to help all entrepreneurs and business owners operating in Canada to export their products and/or services globally. While the content of our Startup Global webinars and Industry Advisory Circles is curated from a Canadian lens, certain sessions can be more focused on topics such as export plans, global supply chains, marketing strategies, etc. which can be useful to entrepreneurs and business owners across the globe!

For a list of exporting mentorship available to founders, visit the Startup Global Resource Guide.

The Startup Global Resource Guide has a comprehensive list of grants and funding opportunities available for companies who are already exporting, and for those who are looking to start exporting.

To be eligible for the Startup Global Pitch Competition, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The intention/ability to export and expand your business internationally
  • Less than $1,000,000 in revenue 
  • Less than 5 years of operating your business
  • Have business/operations based in Canada 

  • To apply in-person to pitch, please register for the “Pitcher Pass” ticket type at the closest Startup Canada Tour stop to you. During this check-out process, you will be asked a series of questions about your business to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.

To pitch virtually, register for our Startup Global Virtual Pitch Competition event. Stay tuned for the launch of this event.

Participants are able to bring their product to the pitch. Please note, there is no set up time for products, therefore we can only allow small physical products. If you have a product that fits on a table top, you may bring it with you to your pitch.

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?

If you pitched in 2023 but were not selected to be in the Top 10, you can apply again this year. If you were a Top 10 Finalist in 2023, you cannot apply to the Startup Global pitch this year.  However, you are welcome to participate in the Startup Global programming. 

No, you are only able to participate in one stream of the Startup Global Pitch Competition.

Email us at global@startupcan.ca


Your weekly dose of entrepreneurship