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

Featuring Women Entrepreneurs

Canada-Israel Joint Pitch Competition

We were delighted to partner with the Embassy of Israel to further promote, celebrate and educate the startup community on the importance of women entrepreneurship globally. Women-led startups from Canada and Israel were 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


“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

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

Grand Finale partner


Frequently Asked Questions

You are welcome to participate in Startup Global programming, but your business must be based in Canada to qualify for the pitch competition.

No. Every entrepreneur is able to access the portal and its content without pitching. If you’re interested in pitching, the brief application is located in the portal. Come prepared with your pitch deck to complete your application!

Email us at global@startupcan.ca

Register for the portal to join Startup Global, we’ll ask you a few short questions so that we’re adding content that will be relevant to you.

Here’s the criteria we’re looking at for both startups and scale-ups:

Early-stage entrepreneurial ventures focusing on capitalizing upon a perceived market demand by developing a viable product, service, or platform with negligible revenues. Additional features of a startup includes:

  • Having no funding;
    Having no seed funding;
    Having gone through Series A funding; and/or
    Having no formal employees

A growing company composed with a proven viable product or service in the market, positive revenue growth, and/or working towards being profitable or is profitable already. Additional features of a scale-up includes:

  • Having at least two formal employees

Yes. In your pitch application form, you’ll be asked to indicate if you’re a scale-up or a startup however the rest of the form remains the same for both categories. The application is quick and easy—we know you’re busy!

Yes! 100% free.

Startup Global has one pitch competition with two categories: one for startups and one for scale-ups. The top 50 from each category will have the opportunity to pitch to win $2,500 (startup category) and $5,000 (scale-up category) in the semi-finals.

In partnership with UPS, we’re also organizing a Peoples’ Choice Award where we’re giving $5,000 and an extra spot in the Grande Finale for the semi-finalist with the most votes! Cast your vote for the people’s choice award before September 26th. Learn more and vote today.

The top 5 startups and top 5 scale-ups will then move onto the Startup Global Grand Finale in October. There, they will compete again for a chance to win an additional $5,000 (startup category) or $25,000 (scale-up category).

Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to prepare you for the pitching process:

  1. Sign up for the Startup Global portal.
  2. Submit your pitch application in the “Apply to Pitch” section of the portal. 
  3. On September 10th, you will be notified by email if your application made it into the Top 50. The Top 50 applications will then be invited to the semi-finals, where pitches will be made in front of three judges and nine other entrepreneurs that have entered the competition.

The Top 10 Finalists (top five startups and top five scale-ups) will be announced on September 24th and will be invited to pitch to our Grand Finale judges. Finalists will be competing again to win grand prizes such as $25,000 cash and up to $100,000 in-kind support.

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 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 | 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), key metrics such as customer return on investment (ROI), and financial status such as how much money has been raised, current revenue, 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 to ultimately answer the question of “Do you think this contestant has the potential to scale globally?”


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