Startup Canada’s 2020 Canadian Export Challenge

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Startup Canada’s 2020 Canadian Export Challenge (CXC) is fast approaching, with regional pitch competitions running from September 14th to 21st.
Despite pivoting to a fully digital event series due to COVID-19, our team has been working hard to make #CXC2020 the best Canadian Export Challenge yet. With an exciting program agenda including presentations by leading experts in global entrepreneurship, the virtual growth lounge and our star-studded panels, there is something for everyone at this year’s CXC. Want to know more about the Canadian Export Challenge’s expert guests and further resources to help you on your journey to becoming a global entrepreneur? Look no further!

Speakers, Panelists & Award Presenters
  • Bruce Croxon – Dragon on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Award Presenter

Bruce Croxon made his mark as a digital pioneer by co-founding Lavalife and revolutionizing how people connect. Partner, chairman and CEO, Croxon helped lead the company’s growth from four to 600 employees while achieving revenue of just under $100 million. Croxon currently helms Round13, a company dedicated to investment into growth-stage Canadian tech companies. As an ex Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, he has added a broad range of businesses and products to his portfolio that tapped into his passion for digital media, health and marketing.
Croxon will be joining us as an award presenter for the Ontario and Quebec regional pitch competitions. In June, we caught up with him on the Startup Podcast. In the episode, Croxon discusses investing in your own success as soon as possible and not getting too eager when you first sense success in your start-up.
“It’s active work to focus on your goals. One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is sensing early success and pivoting six or seven different directions.”

  • Catherine Clark – #CXC2020 Master of Ceremonies

Named one of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, emcee and the President of Catherine Clark Communications – providing strategic communications and public affairs advice to individuals, institutions and corporations. She is the co-founder of The Honest Talk, a new multi-platform podcast and event experience targeted at professional women who are looking for more – out of themselves, their businesses, elected leaders, and the world around them. Earlier this year Clark was the host of the regional CANIE Awards, put on in partnership by the Innovation & Entrepreneurs Foundation and Startup Canada. She will have a large role in this year’s events as the Master of Ceremonies for #CXC2020. On her Startup Podcast episode, Clark discusses starting your entrepreneurial journey and believing in yourself. “You don’t start up a business without a lot of hope and belief in yourself. It’s a tough time for entrepreneurs, and I want them to keep faith in themselves.”

  • Rivers Corbett – Founder & CEO of The Chef Group, Atlantic Region Panelist

Rivers Corbett is a serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, founding director of Startup Canada and the first entrepreneur in residence hired by a government in Canada. In 2000, he founded The Chef Group – The Planet’s Premier Chef Talent Agency at which he is the CEO. Rivers adamantly believes that entrepreneurs will save the world. His awards include being on Canada’s Hottest Startup, Atlantic Canada’s Entrepreneur Ambassador, and Canada’s Rockstar Mentor List.
On September 14th, Corbett will be joining all Atlantic CXC attendees as a speaker on the “Entrepreneurs Going Global” regional panel. Now hosted by Rick Spence, Rivers Corbett was the founding host of the Startup Podcast. Rick caught up with him in July to discuss the importance of social entrepreneurship in shaping tomorrow’s world.

  • Jalisa Luces-Mendes – Founder of Toni Marlow Clothing, Ontario Region Panelist

Jalisa Luces-Mendes is the Founder of Toni Marlow Clothing, an innovative, gender-inclusive underwear brand that serves the LGBTQ2S+ community and beyond. Focused on positively impacting underrepresented communities, Jalisa is proud of the strategic partnerships she’s been able to cultivate for social change. As a mentor and consultant, Jalisa is a community builder and business leader who is passionate about people and strategy and looks forward to opportunities to give and receive knowledge.
Luces-Mendes was the winner of the 2019 Canadian Export Challenge final pitch showdown, bringing home $25,000 and up to an additional $100,000 in in-kind scaling support. Since launching, the successful entrepreneur has been featured in news articles, podcasts and other start-up competitions across the country.

Resources & Tools
Whether you need investors to provide funding or a potential client to secure a contract, the first step in taking your business to the global stage is mastering the pitch. As the Chief Story Architect for, Kevin Smith helps start-ups, small businesses, and social enterprises unleash their story to secure customers and investors by helping them understand what their core customer story is and getting that story to market. On his Startup Podcast episode “The Art of Pitching” (being released on August 25th), Smith discusses how entrepreneurs can capture the attention of the right people and leave a lasting impression.
Startup Canada’s Twitter-based #StartupChats program also dove into the topic of “Mastering Your Pitch” on June 10th, with valuable insights from our expert advisors. To see some of the entrepreneurs submitting their applications for the CXC2020 pitch competition, follow @Startup_Canada on Twitter to check out the ‘Morning Pitch’ series.

Other Resources:
● CXC Go Global Bootcamp | How to Market your Startup Globally | In Partnership with Publicize.
● CXC Go Global Bootcamp | Get Digital: Upping your E-Commerce Game Q&A
● CXC Go Global Bootcamp | Connecting to the Global Marketplace
Regional CXC Dates:
● Atlantic Region – September 14, 2020
● Prairies Region – September 15, 2020
● Ontario Region – September 16, 2020
● British Columbia & North Region – September 17, 2020
● Quebec Region – September 21, 2020

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply and submit video pitches until September 9th, 2020.
Visit for tips on how to prepare for your pitch or to learn more about CXC 2020.