Ottawa, ON – November 30, 2020 | Last week, the winners of the Startup Impact: SDG Pitch Competitions were announced. The two day program, composed of four pitch competitions, highlighted some of the incredible Canadian entrepreneurs prioritizing positive social impact in their businesses.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Taking home $500 each, the winning startups were chosen based on their inspiring devotion to sustainability and fulfillment of one of the following 4 SDG’s:
- SDG 1: Poverty Reduction
- SDG 5: Gender Equality
- SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
- SDG 13: Climate Action
Pitch Competition 1 | SDG: Poverty Reduction
WINNER: Nava Ventures
Nava Ventures, based out of British Columbia, wants all of their users to control their financial destiny. The company provides credit unions and their members with the “fitbit of finance” – an app which tracks banking activity, offers personalized feedback, and gamifies financial education. The platform also offers member-to-member engagement forums, vetted educational materials, and an AI chatbot.
“Co-founding the ‘Fitbit of Finance’ and partnering with credit unions to provide their members with a gamified financial literacy and banking app has been a blast,” said Aman Thind, Nava Ventures head of sales and marketing. “I’m excited to connect with investors about our capital raise in 2021 and look forward to growing!”
Pitch Competition 2 | SDG: Gender Equality
WINNER: Flutter Wear
Decreased fetal movements, traditionally tracked by the mother-to-be via manual charts or apps, is one of the main signs a fetus is in distress. Flutter Wear, based in British Columbia, is increasing access to reproductive healthcare with their wearable, non-invasive maternity clothes that pair with a mobile app that accurately tracks fetal movements. The company also offers personalized pregnancy support through education and resources.
“Startup Canada’s SDG Competition was an incredible event to be a part of! The SDGs are an urgent call for global action, and this event made it evident that Canadian entrepreneurs are answering this call. It was so inspiring to learn about the ambitious work each company is doing to build a more equitable and sustainable future for all. The support our team at Flutter Wear has received will move us forward in our mission to increase access to quality reproductive healthcare, and protect it as a fundamental human right,” said Dolma Tsundu, Founder and CEO of Flutter Wear. “This event left us even more energized to promote the long-term health and autonomy of expectant individuals, their families, and our communities within Canada and internationally. We would like to extend our gratitude to Startup Canada, the judges, the finalists, and the audience for the great experience!”
Pitch Competition 3 | SDG: Decent Work & Economic Growth
Based in Alberta, FLIK (Female Laboratory of Innovative Knowledge) is the only female-focused apprenticeship portal currently on the market. The apprenticeship portal and community hub matches female founders across all industries with verified interns – giving founders the resources they need to grow while offering apprentices valuable experience and mentorship.
“Being part of the SDG pitch competition was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to participate in a space where incredible Canadian entrepreneurs are aiming to solve pressing issues that we as a society face regardless of where we are in the world. Social entrepreneurship continues to propel FLIK forward in our mission towards accelerating womxn-led ventures globally and advancing womxn’s economic participation,” said Ravina Anand, Co-Founder and COO of FLIK. “In alignment with SDG 8, FLIK is creating skills development and lifelong learning opportunities for young womxn to prepare for the future workforce; accelerating entrepreneurial skills and developing a new generation of job creators; and improving access to education and skills opportunities for womxn may be left behind by the rapidly changing global economy. Thank you Startup Canada for showcasing the imperative work that Canadians are doing to leave a lasting social impact, globally.”
Pitch Competition 4 | SDG: Climate Action
Earthli Plant-Powered Superfoods Inc., based in Nova Scotia, is changing the way we consume protein with their hemp-based alternative. Sustainably grown Atlantic hemp is a carbon negative and naturally pest resistant crop that thrives on less water than most crops – eliminating the need for herbicides, pesticides, and excessive watering. Aside from the product’s ecological benefits, hemp also offers consumers a host of nutritional benefits. Earthli’s protein supplement line is currently the only line in Canada using zero waste packaging.
“The Earthli team had a fantastic experience pitching at this competition. We were thrilled to be announced the winner in the Climate Action category with such exceptional finalists competing in the category,” said Warren Dietrich, Co-Founder of Earthli. “It was great to see other companies taking the initiative to create a sustainable and environmentally-conscious brand.”
Through the 2019 National Census, Startup Canada learned that 66% of respondents would consider aligning their business to an SDG, 54% would consider converting their business into a social enterprise, and 80% would consider partnering with a business or charity to advance social and environmental impact. The growing number of entrepreneurs integrating socially impactful mandates into their startups should signal to the world the true power and capacity of Canada’s small business sector in achieving real, tangible change.
“Profit and social impact can and should live harmoniously in Canada’s startup ecosystem,” said Kayla Isabelle, CEO of Startup Canada. “The Startup Impact: SDG Pitch Competition winners are fantastic examples of Canadian entrepreneurs fundamentally integrating sustainable and socially responsible goals into their business model for the betterment of our communities.”
For more information, and to schedule interviews, please contact:
Media Relations, Startup Canada
About Startup Canada
Startup Canada is Canada’s entrepreneurship organization. Startup Canada promotes and supports the success and growth of Canada’s 3.5 million entrepreneurs, with a mandate to foster economic growth, competitiveness, and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Since launching, Startup Canada’s programming has directly supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots Startup Community organizations. Working with over 750 ecosystem partners, including accelerators, incubators, research parks, educational institutions, economic development agencies, associations, and government programs, Startup Canada serves entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, industries, and stages of development, with a network reflective of Canada’s diverse population. Learn more at startupcan.ca.