Canadian Export Challenge accepting startup applications


Startup Canada has announced the second annual Canadian Export Challenge, where startups can apply for the opportunity to pitch and win up to $25,000 in cash and $100,000 in support.

Canadian Export Challenge ran as a pilot program last year, and is now adding more cities for entrepreneurs, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Ottawa, Montréal, and Fredericton, with the final event to be held in Toronto in October.

Fewer than 10 percent of SMEs export, yet those that do are more likely to survive and scale.

The inaugural Canadian Export Challenge supported more than 1,500 entrepreneurs to become export-ready. This year, Startup Canada is looking to support 15,000.

Entrepreneurs also have a chance to attend a one-day global accelerator event to network with Canada’s global expansion support providers.

“As the most connected G7 country with the greatest ease of doing business, Canadian entrepreneurs have a global advantage out of the starting gate,” said Victoria Lennox, co-founder and president of Startup Canada.

Startup Canada stated that fewer than 10 percent of SMEs export, yet those that do are more likely to survive and scale.

Last year’s Startupfest Montréal talked about Canada’s scaleup problem, where Canadian companies are unable to scale because they don’t go global. In a Silicon Valley Bank report, the majority of Canadian startups surveyed expected to be acquired. Only 13 percent see themselves going public or filing for an IPO.

“Now, with 14 trade agreements opening up 62 percent of the global market, Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses have access to more customers than ever before,” said Mary Ng the minister of small business and export promotion. “Our government wants to increase Canada’s overseas exports by 50 percent by 2025.”

Earlier this month, Startup Canada announced that it has opened nominations for its sixth annual Startup Canada Awards.

The program’s rolling deadlines are on February 28, March 31, and May 31. Applications for the Canadian Export Challenge can be found here.


Sera Wong

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