Startup Canada and Export Development Canada announced the recipients of the Adam Chowaniec Memorial Fund for Global Entrepreneurship today. The Fund invests in high-impact initiatives that advance the prospects of Canada’s globally oriented, entrepreneur-led companies.

The recipients are:

  • Go South! Consulting Inc., a business development company, based in Vancouver and Toronto, that specializes in helping Canadian companies connect with Latin American markets. The funding will be used for training sessions to provide Canadian entrepreneurs with the information they need to break into the markets of Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico. 
  • VANTEC - a network that introduces early-stage investors to technology ventures in British Columbia. The funding will be used to support the mentorship of select export-oriented companies that will pitch to a panel of seasoned investors, mentors, and partners at the upcoming Cascadia Venture Forum. 
  • Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association, a partnership between the City of Leduc and Leduc County, Alberta, that leads strategies for sustainable economic wealth development in the region. On May 6, 2016, the association will host a one-day session on the dos and don'ts of taking products, knowledge, or services to markets outside of Canada.

Named in memory of Dr. Adam Chowaniec, founding Chairman of the Startup Canada and board member of EDC, the Fund aims to drive awareness and elevate the ambitions of Canadian a entrepreneurs to consider international export opportunities as a growth catalyst. It also aims to help build capacity of the Canadian startup community to advance the prospects of local, but globally oriented entrepreneur-led companies.

The recipients of the Fund were announced at Startup Canada Day on the Hill, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, anchor companies, investors, media personalities, Ministers, Members of Parliament, and public servants to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of every Canadian and to create an Innovation Agenda that works for Canada.

Quick Facts

  • With 13 per cent of the working-age population involved with entrepreneurship, Canada has the second-highest level of entrepreneurial activity in the world, according to a 2015 study by the Centre for Innovation Studies in Calgary.
  • 10 per cent of Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses exported goods and services globally in 2011. Businesses that export are found to generate higher sales and do more research and development compared to non-exporters.


“If Canada is to become a true global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, our startups and small business owners must be supported to reach their full growth potential as they explore and pursue export opportunities” said Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada. “The Adam Chowaniec Memorial Fund for Global Entrepreneurship connects entrepreneurs to such opportunities through export-oriented programming that provide startups with the resources to scale.”

“During a long and successful career in Canada’s tech community, Adam was involved in starting, growing, and selling more than a dozen companies, and remained a champion of entrepreneurship in Canada,” says Paul Day, Vice-President, Investments. “EDC is proud to honour his memory by partnering with Startup to help entrepreneurs across the country get off the ground.”

"The booming Latin American markets are the ideal destination for many Canadian startups expanding businesses," says Miryam Lazarte, co-founder of Go South! Consulting. "Governments building modern infrastructure, 800 million consumers, B2B, B2C...there has never been a better time for Canadians to 'Go South!'"

"Having the financial support of Startup Canada enables VANTEC to deliver higher calibre programs, such as Cascadia Venture Forum, that result in more efficient and successful startup company development," says George Aliphtiras, Business Development, Vancouver Angel Technology Network.

“In challenging economic times, it is imperative that entrepreneurs seek opportunities in new markets. The innovation and quality of the products and services manufactured in the Leduc-Nisku region of Alberta in the energy and agriculture industries is valued around the world. Now is the time to encourage small business in Alberta to seek out export markets. Our event will provide practical tools and information to help those businesses start their path to discovering new market opportunities,” says Barbara Engelbart McKenzie, Executive Director, Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association.

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Kathryn Forrest
Communications and Marketing Manager, Startup Canada
1-­844-­782-­7801 ext. 106

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. Through online platforms, grassroots Startup Communities and cross-sector initiatives, Startup Canada is advancing entrepreneurial momentum and a culture of entrepreneurship, as the voice of Canadian entrepreneurs.

About Adam Chowaniec

Adam was a one-of-a-kind visionary, entrepreneur, and trailblazer who inspired and influenced the lives of those around him. Recognized for his leadership, business excellence and innovation, Adam was a leading champion of entrepreneurship and high-growth export companies. Believing fiercely in going global, the value of mentorship, and the fundamental importance of culture, he became the founding Chairman of Startup Canada in May 2012. An investor in the next generation of companies, Adam also offered his time and expertise generously, including his membership on the Board of Directors for Export Development Canada.

About EDC

Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian businesses make an impact at home and abroad. EDC has the financial products and knowledge Canadian companies need to confidently enter new markets, reduce financial risk and grow their business as they go from local to global. Together, EDC and Canadian companies are building a more prosperous, stronger and sustainable economy for all Canadians.

For more information and to learn how we can help your company, call us at 1-800-229-0575 or visit