Brampton, ON – October 26th, 2023 | Today, Startup Canada announced the 2023 winners of the Startup Global Pitch Competition Grand Finale. Amidst the full house crowd of the final Startup Canada Tour stop in Brampton, Hamilton-based startup ImaginAble Solutions was named the first-place winner, taking home $30,000. Liza Akvhledziani of Chexy Co. took home the second-place prize, winning $15,000. Rashmi Prakash of Aruna Revolution, the third-place winner, collected $7,500. Last but not least, Jessica McNaughton of memoryKPR Technologies was selected as the 2023 People’s Choice winner, securing a $2,500 cash prize. Alongside monetary prizes, these ventures will also receive in-kind support from the Startup Global program’s extensive partnership network!
Founded by Lianna Genovese, ImaginAble Solutions is a social impact venture creating assistive technology to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Lianna is on a mission to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
“With the support from Startup Canada, we’re going to be able to manufacture over 1,500 guided hands and start a new manufacturing site with Cerebral Palsy Alberta,” said Lianna Genovese, CEO and Founder of ImaginAble Solutions. “This will help us to further employ people with disabilities to build our product and just get Guided Hands into the hands of as many people as possible across the world!”
Startup Global – of which the highly anticipated Startup Global Pitch Competition is a core pillar – is a Startup Canada flagship program now in its sixth year. The Startup Global program connects a pan-Canadian cohort of early stage entrepreneurs with global ambitions to a network of international ecosystem partners dedicated to their success. This free, annual flagship program recognizes the importance that exporting plays on the Canadian economy, celebrates those making waves in the global marketplace, and empowers early stage founders to take their businesses to the international stage.
“Today, during the 2023 Grand Finale, in front of an electric in-person and virtual audience, we had the opportunity to see first-hand the unwavering passion and incredible ingenuity that lives within Canada’s entrepreneurial landscape. Through compassion and innovation, ImaginAble Solutions is changing the way we all understand assistive technology. Lianna Genovese and her team are pushing the limits of the Canadian Startup landscape,” said Kayla Isabelle, CEO of Startup Canada. “Year after year, the ventures involved with the Startup Global program showcase disruptive innovation, thoughtful solutions, and relentless tenacity – positioning Canada as a true competitor on the global stage.”
This year, 2023, marked the return of regional, in-person qualifying pitch competitions to the program via the newly launched Startup Canada Tour. Startup Canada Tour is a 5-stop national event series connecting the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem – enabling early stage founders to build their networks, learn from industry experts, and drive their businesses forward. Kicking off in the Spring, the Startup Canada team touched down in Whitehorse, Halifax and Vancouver. Tour continued in the Fall with the Calgary leg, and wrapped up in Brampton – the only hybrid stop – today.
Each stop – in addition to expansive educational and support programming – featured a “Pop-up Pitch” Competition where registrants faced off for $3,000 cash and a guaranteed spot in the Grand Finale. Four finalists were selected during these in-person competitions, while the six remaining slots were determined through the virtual adjudication of submitted pitch decks.
Presented by UPS, Export Development Canada, the Trade Commissioner Service, and Desjardins, the 2023 Startup Global program celebrated and supported thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs as they navigated international markets.