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Startup Global Pitch Competition: Road to the 2023 Grand Finale

Startup Canada’s Startup Global Pitch Competition puts the spotlight on innovative, global-ready, early stage Canadian startups.

We tend to associate the word “exporting” with international conglomerates and multi-million dollar deals. It’s this misconception that subconsciously fuels fear in many, inadvertently persuading early stage founders and their organizations to restrain all operations to their local markets. As a result, entrepreneurs are forced to find new and creative ways to squeeze more juice out of the same lemon. In actuality, exporting is a highly customizable, individualized tool which can operate on a wide spectrum of complexity — one founder may choose to launch a physical product in multiple global markets, while another might simply be looking to supply their digital services to potential clients in the U.S.

Involvement in international markets — no matter the scale — offers business owners expanded customer bases, diversified supply chains, and improved stability as a whole amidst periods of localized economic uncertainty. Being cognizant of the many contemporary barriers founders face — with compounded impacts on less resourced ventures — it’s vital for the support ecosystem to arm applicable founders with the tailored tools, resources, and knowledge they need to engage in cross-border business opportunities. Specifically, it’s important to contextualize these exporting support avenues to early stage businesses and their unique needs.

Startup Global is a flagship program from Startup Canada that exists to address these evolving needs, connecting a pan-Canadian cohort of early stage entrepreneurs with dedicated networks of international ecosystem partners and celebrating those making waves in the global marketplace. A core pillar of this program is the Startup Global Pitch Competition, a national-scale initiative where Canada’s global-ready startups showdown to win from a cash pool of $70,000. This year’s Grand Finale finalists were selected at virtual and in-person “Pop-up” Pitch Competitions across the country as part of our cross-country Startup Canada Tour.

So far, 8 of 10 disruptive, globally competitive startups have been selected:

Hinterland Flour Mill, Sheryl Nimigon — Whitehorse, Yukon

Based in Yukon, Hinterland Flour Mill is the Yukon’s first flour mill. Family-owned and -operated, one of Hinterland’s driving forces is producing its grain in a local and sustainable way that reduces its carbon footprint and contributes to building a sustainable food system in Northern Canada.

Aruna Revolution, Rashmi Prakash — Halifax, N.S.

Founded in Nova Scotia, Aruna Revolution produces compostable menstrual pads, providing a Canadian-made, affordable, and environmentally responsible alternative period product. Dedicated to its social impact mission, the company also heavily prioritizes awareness and education surrounding the circular economy and menstrual rights.

Mae: Making Auto Easy, Vivian Liu — Vancouver, B.C.

Mae is the first-ever unbiased car shopping experience built for women, by women. The organization offers a guided experience — from personalized recommendations to comparison charts — to save customers time, money, and stress in their car shopping journey.

HEAT-MX, Sae Chang — Montreal, Que.

Providing performance benefits and environmental contributions never before seen in the outdoor product and clothing industry, HEAT-MX provides technological innovations in a wide range of textile applications such as apparel, footwear, gloves, sleeping bags, food bags, and more.

ImaginAble Solutions, Lianna Genovese — Hamilton, Ont.

ImaginAble Solutions is a social impact venture creating assistive technology to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. The team offers design services to families and health care facilities to ensure their award-winning technology, Guided Hands — an assistive device enabling anyone with limited fine motor skills to write, paint, draw, and access technology — meets the needs of users.

MycoFutures, Stephanie Lipp — Bonavista, N.L.

A next-gen materials cleantech startup, MycoFutures is cultivating mycelium — the root system of fungi — to create a new, circular material for the fashion industry and beyond. Enabling a product that looks and feels like leather, mycelium boasts low CO2 emissions, grows and decomposes quickly, and proposes a viable alternative to plastics, which are too often found in the synthetic leather industry.

Tokidos, Ralph Nakhle — Montreal, Que.

Tokidos is the first screen-free gaming console for kids aged three to eight. Composed of five robust cubes and powered by unique “game cards,” the console is designed to stimulate both independent learning and social skills through family play. Consisting of math, social, music, logic, language, and knowledge games, Tokidos is subscription-based and adapted to the natural development stages of your child.

mDETECT Inc., Irsa Wiginton — Kingston, Ont.

The team at mDETECT is committed to transforming how treatment decisions are made for late-stage, metastatic cancer patients through its innovative “liquid biopsy” technologies. The mDETECT assay is a highly specific and sensitive test that monitors tumour burden in cancer patients using targeted methylation marks in circulating tumour DNA — accurately and rapidly determining the response to cancer therapy and helping extend the lives of patients.

The remaining two finalists will be announced during the final two stops of the Startup Canada Tour this fall. The 10 finalists will then compete live in the Grand Finale during the Brampton leg of the Startup Canada Tour.

Canadian business owners disrupt their industries, deliver groundbreaking solutions for their communities, and position Canada as a globally competitive innovation ecosystem. Join us in celebrating these ambitious, global-ready ventures — watch the showdown either in person or virtually by registering at https://bit.ly/sctour-brampton.

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