About Startup Global

What is it?

Startup Global offers support to Canadian entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their businesses internationally. From webinars, to export readiness resources, and exclusive offerings from our partners, this free program will help you build an international market entry strategy and plan. This program will help you answer key questions such as:

  • Is my business ready to expand internationally?
  • What is required from a regulatory, legal, financial, and marketing perspective to get my business ready to begin exporting?
  • What types of resources are available to support my export journey?

What can you expect?

Throughout the year, beginning in March, Startup Canada will be hosting several live webinars, industry advisory circles, a Pitch Competition (in-person on the Startup Canada Tour and virtually), and exclusive in-kind resources to support your journey to exporting. 

Overview of the 2024 Startup Global Program

Virtual Events

Our Startup Global webinars will walk you through the tools and resources you need to get your business export ready. Each webinar will provide you with the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and organizations, access to key export resources, tools, and networks to help grow your business!

Learn more and register

Industry Advisory Circles

Industry Advisory Circles are dedicated gatherings for early stage entrepreneurs focused on a specific industry. These sessions will feature expert talks from late stage founders, a panel discussion with support organizations within the industry, and networking breakout rooms with attendees and speakers. This closed-door, virtual meetup will give entrepreneurs all across Canada a sense of community and support.

Learn more and register

Pitch Competition

There are two ways to participate in the 2024 Startup Global Pitch Competition! 1) You can pitch in-person at one of our Pop-up Pitches at our Startup Canada Tour stops, or 2) you can pitch in our Virtual Pitch Competition Day on Monday June 24. 10 finalists from across Canada will be flown out to pitch live in Kitchener-Waterloo at the Startup Global Pitch Competition Grand Finale, for their chance to win from an overall $70,000 cash prize pool to grow their business.

Learn more and apply

Exclusive resource guide

We’re committed to supporting you at every point of your journey to go global! That’s why we’ve updated and enhanced our resource guide, which will take you through the fundamental stages of exporting. This exporters' journey map will provide an overview for those new to exporting, and a refresher for entrepreneurs who are continuing their export journey. This resource guide includes national resources from across the country, with resources available in both English and French.

Access now

Past events

Our favourite highlights

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

2023 Startup Global

2023 Event Recap

2022 Startup Global

2022 Event Recap

2021 Startup Global

2021 Event recap

2021 Canada-Israel Joint Pitch Competition

2021 Event recap

2020 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now

2019 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now

2018 Canadian Export Challenge

Watch Now


“The Startup Global program was pivotal to Aruna's growth in many ways. After recently moving to Nova Scotia, Aruna had the opportunity to participate in the Halifax Startup Global Pop-up Pitch Competition. As a pitch competition finalist that presented on the main stage, we were able to generate significant new exposure to the Halifax community including new press, investor connections, and partnership opportunities. As the winner of this stop, we flew to Ontario and gained even more exposure to a national audience. We learned so much throughout the process and the funding was very valuable so that we can do our first production run of our pads. We are so grateful for the support of Startup Canada!”

- Rashmi Prakash (Aruna Revolution Health)

“Startup Canada has played an integral role in my journey as a female founder with their excellent programming, networking opportunities, connections to ecosystem partners, and opportunities to increase brand awareness. Pitching in the Startup Global Pitch Competition provided me with the opportunity to hone my pitch and have a stage to share it on. Winning the People’s Choice Award for 2023 was the highlight of our year. The people, the organization, and the mandate of Startup Canada are foundational to the startup ecosystem in Canada.”

- Jessica McNaughton (memoryKPR)

Our 2024 program partners

Thank you to our 2024 partners for supporting Startup Global!

Co-presenting partners

Program partners

Ecosystem 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


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