Startup Canada’s Canadian Export Challenge to be held virtually due to COVID-19

Virtual events

Startup Canada has announced the second annual Canadian Export Challenge (CXC), a competition for entrepreneurs to pitch and win up to $25,000 in cash and $100,000 in support, will be fully-digital this year due to COVID-19.

The Canadian Export Challenge (CXC) has historically consisted of a series of one-day events across Canada, that are designed for startups and scale-ups who are thinking about, working towards, or are already exporting their products or services.

“We’re no longer limited by geography, so we’re excited to be able to connect with entrepreneurs who haven’t been able to participate in past CXCs.”

Although the 2020 event format will differ from past years, the competition will still take place regionally in September. In each region, entrepreneurs will be pitching to win $5,000 for scale-ups, $2,500 for startups, in addition to the $25,000 cash prize and $100,000 in services. This year’s competition will have two categories: startups and scale-ups, and entrepreneurs in both categories will complete their first-round pitches via online video submission.

“We want to make sure that participants are competing with companies at similar stages of growth,” said Kayla Isabelle, executive director of Startup Canada.

“In spite of limitations presented by COVID-19, we’re excited about CXC’s new digital format,” she added. “We’re no longer limited by geography, so we’re excited to be able to connect with entrepreneurs who haven’t been able to participate in past CXCs.”

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CXC events are open and free to attend for all Canadian entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in learning more about the Canadian export ecosystem. Each one-day global accelerator will offer opportunities to learn from and connect with Canada’s global expansion support providers and gain privileged access to market intelligence, and a partner network to help them grow.

Beginning as a pilot program in 2018, CXC added a number of cities across Canada for pitch competitions last year. This September, UPS, the Trade Commissioner Service, and Export Development Canada are collaborating with Startup Canada along with Mastercard and Scotiabank, and the event will be “powered” by Google Canada.

CXC is among a number of Canadian startup events that have had to go virtual this year due to the pandemic. Techstars, for example, recently held its Startup Weekend online, and major tech conferences like Collision are also being held digitally.

Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for CXC through video submissions starting June 1.

Image source Unsplash.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.