Startup Canada names Twenty One Toys founder winner in regional Pitch Competition

We’re thrilled to share this update from Startup Canada, the organization considered “the national rallying community and voice for Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs!” On June 6th, our founder, Ilana Ben-Ari, was named the winner of the Mississauga stop of the Canadian Export Challenge Pitch Competition (presented in partnership with UPS Canada®, Export Development Canada, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service). Created with the aim to showcase and support “more than 100 borderless businesses to go global,” the Canadian Export Challenge offers support to a Global Entrepreneur Cohort, allowing Canadian businesses to accelerate scaling and global export.

In the piece published by Startup Canada, Twenty One Toys founder, CEO, and Lead Designer, Ilana Ben-Ari, reflects on the process so far: “This is a surreal experience. I did not expect to see so many entrepreneurs in the room… It was both really overwhelming, intimidating, and exciting. It’s a continual challenge for entrepreneurs: how do you export? This is the perfect time to have support come in to really help us be strategic and focused with our execution.”

“Human-skills for…shaping the world”

Acknowledging the work Ilana and Twenty One Toys have done to teach “empathy, failure, and other key 21st century skills using toys and playful workshops” as well as training facilitators “who are exploring themes like learning from failure and empathy in their work,” Startup Canada is pleased to support the “Ontario-based award-winning social enterprise”.

“We’re delighted to see Twenty One Toys win the Mississauga Canadian Export Challenge Pitch Competition and know they will proudly represent Mississauga entrepreneurs in Toronto in October at the Final Showdown,” says Rachelle DeSorcy, Canadian Export Challenge Lead at Startup Canada. “With the rise of AI and societies tightening grip on computer-based technology, it’s encouraging to see Twenty One Toys rise up to provide the human-skills for not only children, but the adults who are shaping the world in which we live.”

What’s next?

We can’t wait for Small Business Week in October, when Ilana will compete at the national level, alongside six other regional finalists for the grand prize and title of “Canada’s 2019 Global Entrepreneur!”

Read the official press release here →

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