The Business Gay Podcast with Host Calan Breckon
The Business Gay
How To Win The Pitch Using The Power Of Story
Kayla Isabelle StartUp Canada - How to win the pitch

In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with the CEO of Startup Canada, Kayla Isabelle, about how you can use the power of your story to win at your next pitch contest and to help secure more funding as an entrepreneur.

Startup Canada is the gateway to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their mission is to connect Canada’s entrepreneurs with the tools, community, and support they need to start and build their businesses.

Kayla has dedicated her career to supporting entrepreneurs and is passionate about leveraging the power of storytelling in the business community. This year she was recognized as a Globe and Mail Changemaker as well as a Business Woman of the Year Finalist and in 2022 Kayla was also listed as a Top Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal.

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Calgary: Thursday, September 28, 2023
BMO Centre at Stampede Park

Brampton: Thursday, October 26, 2023
The Rose Brampton

Links mentioned in this episode:

Key Takeaways for quick navigation:

  • [03:12] Founders who weave personal stories into their pitches create strong emotional connections with listeners, making their businesses more memorable.
  • [10:30] Sharing personal stories in pitches requires practice to become comfortable and skilled in presenting vulnerabilities and challenges.
  • [13:44] Kayla shares pitch stories about Kailey Gilchrist of Nona Vegan and Yamila Franco of Nyoka that blend personal stories with impactful business ideas.
  • [19:05] Startup Canada supports early-stage entrepreneurs with resources, connections, and programs focused on women, global expansion, advocacy, and more.
  • [21:23] The Startup Canada Tour, Business Owner’s Toolbox, and various initiatives empower entrepreneurs to connect, learn, and thrive across Canada.
  • [23:58] The Business Owner’s Toolbox on the Startup Canada website provides comprehensive information and resources for building a business, offering valuable guidance for entrepreneurs.
  • [25:37] The Startup Canada Tour includes a Startup Global pitch competition, where entrepreneurs can pitch their export-focused business ideas for a chance to win funding prizes.
  • [26:33] Crafting a compelling story within a pitch captures audience interest and creates a desire to learn more about the business, making the conversation a meaningful and engaging experience.
  • [27:43] To learn more about Startup Canada’s programs, resources, and events, visit – Discount code “SCTOUR20” offers a reduced rate for attending the Startup Canada Tour events.
  • [28:52] Utilizing resources and connecting with thought leaders, like those featured in podcasts, contributes to entrepreneurs’ growth and preparation for effective pitching.

Calan Breckon:     00:00:00    Today’s episode is sponsored by Castos. Castos is a podcast hosting platform trusted by thousands of brands. With Castos, you can create as many podcasts and episodes as you want, no matter which plan you choose. Full disclosure, the podcast you’re listening to right now is actually hosted on Castos. And I can say with 100% confidence that Castos is the best option. Castos has their seriously simple podcasting plugin for WordPress, making it easy to run your show through your own website. This is a must have, especially if you’re looking to grow your business and audience through SEO driven content. I’ve been using Castos for over three years, and the team has always been super friendly, quick to respond, and has supported my podcasting journey since day one. You can find out more by visiting or just clicking the link in the show notes. Now, let’s get into today’s episode.

Calan Breckon:     00:00:58    Welcome back to another episode of the Business Gay podcast, where we talk about all things business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon, and on today’s episode I have the CEO of Startup Canada. Kayla Isabelle joining me. Startup Canada is the gateway to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their mission is to connect Canada’s entrepreneurs with the tools, community, and the support they need to start and to build their businesses. Kayla has dedicated her career to supporting entrepreneurs and is passionate about leveraging the power of storytelling in the business community. This year, she was recognized as a Globe and Mail change maker, as well as a businesswoman of the year finalist. And in 2022, Kayla was also listed as a top 40 under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal. I’m really excited to jump into today’s conversation with Kayla, so let’s get to it.

Calan Breckon:     00:01:50    So, hello. Hello, Kayla. Welcome to the Business Gay Podcast. How’s it going? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:01:57    It’s going great, Calan. Thanks so much for having me. 

Calan Breckon:     00:02:00    I am so excited to have you. When I met you, I was like, this is my people. This is a magical person in the world. And when you agreed to be on the podcast, I was super duper excited 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:02:11    Right back at your count. Like it’s, you know, just the energy following the flow, following the people that, you know, put a smile on your face. I love that. Right, exactly. And you definitely did the same for me. 

Calan Breckon:     00:02:19    Aw, thanks. Yeah, ’cause I mean, we met in the, we met in Kingston at the CGLCC summit, which was absolutely magical. Um, and I just learned about all the amazing work that Startup Canada is doing. So, with that, let’s just dive right in. Let’s do it. You’ve been in the entrepreneur world for, you know, a hot minute, and you’ve probably seen your fair share of pitches. What separates a bad or mediocre pitch from a great or memorable pitch? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:02:46    I love this question ’cause I feel like I’ve probably seen more pitches than most of the Dragons on Dragon’s den. Most of the <laugh>, these folks that do this for a living. Um, ’cause we not only have our own pitch competition, but I’ve served as a judge in maybe 30 to 40 additional pitch competitions that I do every year. So this is, this is a space that I love. I love to hear founders tell their stories. Um, and I’ve also seen lots of evolutions of pitches over the years and, and what has really left an impression on me has been the storytelling ability of a founder. And you’ll often hear this advice when hearing pitches, um, when people are making recommendations on pitches. Um, you only have a limited amount of time to capture someone’s attention and your ability to convey not only the problem that you’re solving through your business, but hooking that listener to really remember, um, a concrete story or an illustration or something that’s really tangible that gets locked into their brain. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:03:44    Um, it’s a skillset to be able to do that, you know, in under a minute or under a minute and a half or, you know, whatever, whatever some of these pitch competitions have. But I would say that concrete storytelling, an understanding of your numbers that is not necessarily front and center in your pitch, but that, you know, in any moment you could pull out if you can, and really sharing that confidence with your listeners, um, that you can speak to those high level numbers, but double click at a moment’s notice, um, and a genuine enthusiasm for the business and for the problem that you’re trying to solve. There’s so many different types of businesses that you could be starting. Why are you the founder that is tackling this specific problem? Why does this mean the world to you? Um, and as either a judge or an investor or somebody, um, you know, having conversations with founders, that’s the secret sauce where someone says, I wanna be a part of that journey and I wanna help you get to where you want to go when they feel that passionate and energy. Um, so really storytelling, understanding your numbers, um, and really being able to show that enthusiasm and passion. 

Calan Breckon:     00:04:49    Yes. I, I had just started, I did my first pitch actually at the summit that I met you at. Oh, that was your first pitch was great. That was the first time I ever did pitch. First time I ever did a pitch. Oh my gosh. Um, and when I was sitting and listening to other people’s, not knocking other people, everybody was great, but I just remembered people who had a story that they told me versus just telling me about their business. I cared whether or not they even talked about their business. ’cause it was just like, Ooh, I want to know you and I want to know more about your story. And this 60 seconds is my intro to say whether I’m interested in that or not. It’s 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:05:28    Like a spark, right? It’s like data. Like it’s, it’s, you really need to hook that energy and that interest and, and ask, oh, I wanna know more. Like that energy to wanna double click. Uh, you’re trying to entice that to a large audience as well. It’s not gonna resonate with everybody. Um, but exactly. It’s, it’s not rocket science when you think about it, right? Like that’s obviously you wanna listen to interesting people. 

Calan Breckon:     00:05:46    Right, exactly. And like, case in point, you came up to me afterwards and you were specifically like, you need to come and pitch at, which we’re gonna talk about later. And I was like, oh, okay. So with that, let’s unpack mine a little bit. I use in my, I used in my pitch, my story of, you know, why I became an entrepreneur. I had a lot of physical issues and that’s what I kind of focused on. And I kind of put the business stuff later on in the pitch and it was kind of like an afterthought, but my focus was like, this is why I’m doing what I’m doing. And what did that spark in you? Because that must have been the story that you need to include in the pitches that help you leverage yourself into that person’s mind. So what was your experience of that? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:06:27    Yeah, I feel like it, it is, um, opening your heart a little bit, that vulnerability that you see in those first couple of minutes, um, that’s, that leaves, um, really like, for lack of better words, like an imprint on my heart. Like it really does sort of anchor, um, founders not as just being, you know, another business on a roster of, you know, Ontario registered companies. Like there’s so many businesses out there. Um, and whatever that differentiator is for you, if that’s your personal experience, um, a challenging history that you may have experienced bias in the business place that you were trying to combat. Um, there’s so many different things that add to our toolbox and our, our overall experience as human beings. The way that that manifests in our businesses makes us such interesting founders. Um, and for me, when I think of like the best pitches that I’ve ever heard, um, they’ve been very, very moving openings similar to yours in sharing, you know, a a loss of a family member or sharing, you know, a tremendous hurdle that that founder has then been able to overcome. Um, those personal stories show an unbelievable resilience that I’m looking for in an entrepreneurial context and that you’re demonstrating in one sentence by saying, uh, you know, what you’ve been through. So I think it, it shows the grit and the resilience and sort of that tenacity that is naturally entrepreneurial, but really by making an impression on, on the listener’s hearts. 

Calan Breckon:     00:07:51    Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I’m, I’m curious, do you think that, um, kind of goes hand in hand with personal development, the people who can pitch and use those stories versus the people who pitch and are just about the business, do you think maybe the ones who just are about the business hide behind a fear of like, oh, I can’t bring myself to this 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:08:11    Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it, there’s a lot of vulnerability there, right? And, and risk that, you know, an investor might not align with that story. Somebody on the other side of that receiving the end might not have the empathy that another listener might have. So there’s always that risk in anything. Um, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to share something that either potentially went wrong, you know, in your business or in your life. You know, we hear lots of founders that, um, you know, failed in their first couple of businesses for X, Y, Z and that actually brought them closer to their next venture. Um, takes vulnerability to say that you fail <laugh> and then that’s what entrepreneurship is all about, right? But, um, I personally think that that courage and that openness and honesty also serves for a better foundation for the relationship that I want to have with that founder. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:08:56    If ever, if somebody comes up to you and they are perfect and polished and excellent and there’s no blemish to their entire presentation of anything, what’s hiding underneath that story, right? And you sort of ask those different questions. So I would way rather have that honesty, have that openness, see all those fabulous flaws and textures and, you know, all those different colors that, that create dynamic humans that we are. Um, and those are the details that are gonna stick out in the back of your mind when you think, you know, what did Cal say at that event? That’s what’s gonna land and make that impression. 

Calan Breckon:     00:09:25    Right? And ’cause people are messy. There is no such thing as perfection. And if you are portraying that, I’m like, danger, danger, like danger, <laugh>, danger, danger will Robinson, this is not something alert. Alert. Um, how can, uh, how can entrepreneurs leverage this story then once they get to a place where they gotta recognize my story’s important, I need to show that. ’cause that’s where I got, when I did this first pitch at the summit, I was like, look, I can go down two roads. I can just be the business which I’ve been doing for a number of years, or I can finally embrace this part of my story that makes me uncomfortable because I’m still in it and it’s messy, but it’s human. And I know that I’ve been told again and again and again. I have to bring my story to the table. What would you say to those entrepreneurs who are afraid of bringing that story to their business pitch for that, I don’t want to call it leverage ’cause it’s more humanity. Yeah. I feel it’s more humanizing the experience 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:10:20    You’re bringing your full self to the table versus just the business self. Yeah. Um, I think practice, honestly, the, the first time that you do it will always be the most daunting. Um, but some of the founders that have had the most touching and most, um, not even dramatic, what’s the right word? The, the most, uh, challenging life circumstances thrown their way, um, they are now able to tap into that pitch and jump into that story after practicing and finessing the language that they’re comfortable sharing and that’s resonating with their audience. So the more times that you’re telling that story, not that you become desensitized to your own story, but you just become more comfortable with it rolling off of your own tongue. Um, you get to observe the audience in a different way when you’re not so focused on yourself and every single word that you’re saying, you’re able to get that feedback in a different way. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:11:12    Um, and that’s where, you know, you have your sort of testing ground and the more you practice, the more you change those subtle nuances about the pitch, the cadence and speed of how you’re speaking, um, the specific examples you might be using for different audiences, if that’s customers, investors, other pitches, particular pitch competitions that have a focus. Um, so having more of that experience will give you more of that data and more of that reflection, and you will naturally just become more comfortable also talking about yourself. Because some founders are like, I don’t wanna talk to ’em about myself all the time. I don’t wanna hear the sound of my own voice. You know, it’s hard to record yourself as well on a screen and hear yourself pitching and dissect yourself over and over and over again. Um, the more energy you put in that finesse. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:11:56    I mean, I, I have a musical theater background, so this to me was, it’s like performance 1 0 1, right? Me, the more crack you’ve got and you do exactly <laugh>. So it’s, think of yourself as a performer. In some ways I help that sort of helps me in, not that you’re putting on a character when you’re up front, but it, you are performing for a particular audience and you’re trying to put your best self forward. You’re performing as your best authentic self. Um, but you wanna be very prepared in that moment. Practice is really gonna get you there. 

Calan Breckon:     00:12:20    Yeah, for sure. Definitely. Do you have like, um, any like specific pitch or anything that stands out as memorable to you that you’ve seen? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:12:29    So this is like picking like your favorite child, like <laugh>. There are so many pitches that I’ve loved. Um, two really stand out for me because of two actually completely different reasons. Uh, or maybe I’ll say three, uh, maybe I’ll go three. So two, uh, that I’ll start with. Um, one is just a fabulous pitch that I’ve seen and I’ve seen her pitch now in multiple different pitch competitions. Um, I’ve had her interview on various podcasts, et cetera. Um, and this is Kaylee got, uh, Kaylee Gilcrest from, um, uh, Nona Vegan, that’s We Love, and or I, no, I’m pronouncing her name wrong. Um, Kayleigh Gilchrist from Nona Vegan. Yes. Gilchrist. 

Calan Breckon:     00:13:09    Yeah. Nona Vegan’s amazing. For anybody listening, go get it. Just a little burp for her. Uh, Nona Vegan is like really delicious sauces that are like gluten-free and like most everybody can eat them. And she, yeah, so you’ll tell the story, but like, go look up to vegan 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:13:26    <laugh>. So I met Kaylee maybe three years ago when she pitched at our startup Global Pitch Competition, and she conveyed the purpose behind this business in one sentence at the beginning of her pitch that her mom had passed away when she was very young. And the one thing that they shared was this love and passion for cooking incredible Italian meals. Um, and that is the foundation of this entire beautiful business that she’s built with the love of her mom. And it, it, even now thinking about it, it makes me well up just thinking of every moment she comes and she pitches, she talks about her business, et cetera, it’s honoring this beautiful relationship that she has with her mom. And that was one sentence that she’s opened that pitch with. I’ve seen her pitch since, and she’s even better somehow <laugh> than she was when I met her three years ago. 

Calan Breckon:     00:14:13    I just saw her in Denver doing a pitch and she did the same thing in the room, and I was like, damn, she got it. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:14:19    It just, it hits, it really is. She’s ex and then, you know, she has incredible numbers. She’s in Whole Foods across the country. She’s expanded globally. You know, there’s so much great business movement on top of that foundation, but you are invested in Kaleigh the first instance. She gets up on that stage and, and makes you have that connection with her family. Um, so Kaleigh would be definitely one of them. Um, the second pitch that I remember speaks to just entrepreneurs kind of getting it done no matter what. Um, we were doing the startup global pitch competition during the pandemic, and it was peak pandemic, I think end, end of April, maybe early May, 2021. Um, and so we were doing virtual pitches across the country, which nobody had done at that point. Everybody was like, where’s a webcam? How do I, how do I work remotely? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:15:06    You know, if we were all really flailing at that point. And, um, so we had one, uh, pitcher who lived in very, very rural BC who did not have the internet connectivity to do a pitch live because of where she was in rural bc. So she made it to the finals. We MacGyver different ways. We had her call into different platforms. We figured out all these ways through the semi-finals. Um, and then to do the finals, she found a coffee shop that let her, um, sort of occupy the space that had better connected wifi about 45 minutes outside of her house. And so she’s on this virtual stage, there’s thousands of people watching her. There’s a barista in the back sort of trying to be very quiet with the espresso machine. Um, and she was pitching this incredible business that, uh, creates sustainable and environmentally friendly, um, glow sticks. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:15:55    So essentially for like humanitarian efforts, um, you could use these reusable glow sticks that are not toxic to the environment. And the scalability of this type of venture is incredible because glow sticks are very toxic for the environment. Yeah. You could then also use ’em at raves and concerts and all these other great places. So lots of different business, uh, models there, but incredible business. And so I remember watching her in this coffee shop and she pitched, did an incredible pitch, you know, an excellent, excellent founder. Um, and she ultimately won the pitch competition. So she’s sitting in this coffee shop and all of a sudden we say, you know, il congratulations, you’ve now won the pitch comp. She starts screaming in this coffee shop and have this like, beautiful, beautiful moment and just what she had to go through that day to even find somewhere to pitch to then tell her story and, you know, all these various hurdles that she was experiencing, particularly during the pandemic. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:16:49    It, it’s like all of that melted away and she was just celebrated in this huge moment. Um, and probably would never have had that platform if it hadn’t been for the pandemic because she would not have been able to engage in one of the in-person pitch competitions. So taking that as a bit of a blessing during the pandemic that these opportunities were presented, but just showing how entrepreneurs will figure out a way to get things done in whatever creative ways, you know, are, are gonna land. And that we got her connected to lots of different, you know, private sector partners to help her on shipping and distribution and exporting. And, um, the business has done really beautifully since then. So that was amazing. Um, Emila from Yoka Design Labs. 

Calan Breckon:     00:17:26    Okay, well I’m gonna make sure that these are linked in the show notes because like I want to give props to these amazing entrepreneurs as well. Um, so yeah. Oh, I love those stories. I almost started like getting well up, like imagining this person in a coffee shop just freaking out. Did she win like, um, any like grant money or any financing as well? It was 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:17:45    $25,000. Yeah, she won a bunch of money. Damn 

Calan Breckon:     00:17:48    Girl. That I would be freaking out as well. Be like, I just got my Margaret like, 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:17:54    And the baristas in the back, you know, smiling <laugh> and just freaking out on it was great. It was such a special moment. 

Calan Breckon:     00:18:01    <laugh>, oh, and then you have that story as well to take through your business with you. Like that adds to the juiciness of it. Oh God, I could talk about this all, I could talk about this all day, all day, all the time. Um, wow, those are two really amazing stories. Thank you so much for sharing those. Um, I want to know more now about Startup Canada and shift gears a little bit to find out, we’ve talked about pitching and like the great stuff over there. Let’s talk a little bit more about Startup Canada and what you do specifically, or what Startup Canada does specifically. Um, uh, yeah, let’s unpack that a little bit. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:18:36    Yeah, it’s, it’s a lot to unpack for sure. So we are, um, startup Canada is a national nonprofit, so we support any early stage entrepreneur. So think from ideation, I’ve got a business idea, um, to one to nine employees under a million in revenue. Really those beginning stages of building either a small business or a very traditional high tech, you know, uh, high growth kind of startup. Um, we essentially help connect you with resources, tools, support organizations, private sector partners, um, and then we do some government advocacy as well to help position early stage entrepreneurs in the best possible way across Canada. We do that through a lot of different programs. Um, so we’ve got our Startup Women initiative, which is essentially a free flagship program that helps any women identifying founder get connected to women specific resources. So thank women specific funds, women-led, uh, investment groups, um, looking at women’s mentorship initiatives, advisory support, et cetera. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:19:36    Um, by creating these safe spaces in these communities for women identifying founders. We also have a group of representatives called swan, the Startup Women Advocacy Network, and that’s one women identifying founder from every province and territory. And they essentially serve as advocates for their region. So we connect them with different decision makers, private sector partners to say, Hey, you know, I’m a farmer in rural Manitoba. Here are the challenges that I’m faced with. Um, or, you know, I’m trying to build a clean tech business out of bc. Um, and here are the supports in Vancouver that have been really helpful for me, but here’s where I’d like to see more growth. So we really try to champion their recommendations to decision makers across there. Awesome. That’s on the women’s side. Um, our startup global program that I’ve mentioned is focused on early stage exporters. So if you are looking to take either a service-based industry or a product-based industry and sell abroad, that can be the US that could be selling in one place in the US that can also be selling across the entire world. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:20:35    Um, we essentially help you get connected to the export ecosystem folks like the Trade Commissioner, service Export Development Canada private sector partners like u p s to give you 50% off on all your shipping and logistics. Uh, and then groups like, uh, Google as well to use a lot of their market finder trends and data and research to help you navigate where you should be going internationally With that program. We’ve got workshops, webinars, um, all again completely free advisory support, uh, and then a pitch competition that allocates about $70,000 each year to fund founders across the country. Uh, we do live pop-up pitches, virtual pop-up pitches, um, and we do pitch prep as a part of that as well to help our founders really craft their pitches moving forward beyond this pitch competition as well. So the startup global set, then we’ve got startup gov, which is our program fo focused on advocacy. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:21:30    So this is where we bring together various entrepreneurs, um, either on a specific topic or to a particular regions, um, uh, political official. So it could be a premier, a mayor, um, a minister responsible for a specific file. Um, and we essentially create those connection points so those founders can make recommendations directly to government. Um, we did one, uh, just uh, this past week, um, with Minister Fidel, so looking at Ontario innovation and we brought, um, very small businesses and founders from across Ontario to make recommendations to his office. Um, so those types of, of facilitated sessions. We also do, um, our fabulous Cross Canada tour. So this is called the Startup Canada Tour. Um, and this is essentially going across the country and directly connecting founders with the support ecosystem that lives and breathes within that location. So this year we went to Whitehorse, uh, Halifax, Vancouver, uh, and then we will be going to Calgary next week and in Ontario, um, as well October 26th. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:22:34    Um, and at those events you essentially as an early stage founder, get to see who’s out there to help me that runs an incubator, a mentorship program, maybe a financial institution, maybe a group of angels or investors that you wanna chat to other founders that might be working in the same industry as you. Um, and really creating those networking spaces both to make those connections and then also learn from some inspiring keynotes, practical workshops, um, and being able to ask experts, um, in separate, uh, spaces at the actual venue itself. So lots of different ways to interact with the various folks, uh, across your ecosystem. 

Calan Breckon:     00:23:10    Yes, so many, so many good resources and ways to connect. I just wanna let make sure people know that next week it is September 28th in Calgary and then it will be Brampton Ontario on October 26th. And if you go to the Brampton one in October, I will also be there. Um, so we can connect there. Uh, did you mention was, did you mention the business owners toolbox? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:23:34    So we’ve also got a static resource on our website. So for any early stage founder that’s like, how do you incorporate, what are the business structures I should be considering? Do I need insurance? What is my relationship with legal at this stage? Um, the business owner’s toolbox is essentially a free tool online on the Startup Canada website. Um, and it gives you all the information about the founding sort of building blocks of building a business. Um, so if you don’t really know where to start, that’s a great landing page. 

Calan Breckon:     00:24:00    Amazing. And I will say I have gone to the Startup Canada website and have gone into your kind of, uh, hub that you log into and it is so efficient and like magical. I just looked at it, I was like, ah, this is so pretty as like an ss e o web developer, that kind of thing. Yeah, I just like, and, and I, you know, I’ve helped build membership websites and stuff like that. It just is so beautifully laid out and it’s so easy to use and you can find what you need to find and it actually gives people the tools that they need in order to be able to move forward and where they need to get connected. And it has like if the webinars are coming up and it has all the dates available, so it’s a fantastic resource that everybody should go and check out because it definitely has a lot of tools that, um, you can utilize and use. You mentioned a pitch contest. Can you tell me more about this pitch contest? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:24:50    Yes. So, um, as a part of the Starter Canada tour, we also have our startup global pitch competition happening with these sort of mini popup pitches that we’re doing across the country. So if you come to tour, you can essentially pitch, um, if you sign up ahead of time, we do have a, a limited number of spots, um, and you can pitch live to various judges and win both funding on site. So $3,000 that day. Or if you’re in Brampton, you also might be eligible to win the large pot for first, second, or third prizes, which I think are, you know, between 30 and, uh, $10,000 each. So for those pitches, we’re essentially looking for businesses that have export potential. You don’t necessarily already need to be traveling, um, and working across the world, but you have a either product or service that could expand internationally. We’re looking for, um, about a minute and a half pitch. Um, so conveying it in a very short p time period. Um, and you’ll be talking to judges that are, you know, members of the community who run incubators, accelerators, other very experienced later stage founders, um, and folks from, um, some of our support organizations like the Trade Commissioner Service, E D C U P S and De Day. So those are the people that you might be pitching to. 

Calan Breckon:     00:26:05    Amazing. And those prizes sound delightful, which is why we love the cash I’m gonna be going <laugh>.

Kayla Isabelle:     00:26:07    Exactly, we Love the money, 

Calan Breckon:     00:26:13    It’s good, we love the money, but we also love the stories. And so if you’re planning on going to one of these events, I highly suggest you take the advice that Kayla was talking about, about using your story and your pitch. Yes, you want to convey the information, but in my experience when I did that first pitch, I just had such a um, response to my story that people who wanted to find out more after came up, specifically like yourself to ask me and to talk to, to me more about what I did. So those details of what you really do that you’re like, oh, we do this, we do that, we do this, we do that. Like, don’t get bogged down behind all of that, right? Create the story and make sure that that’s kind of front and center and then the right ones will be drawn in. And then that way you also, you do wanna create some sort of mystery. Like if they want to know more, they’re like, oh, I want to know more about that. It creates that, um, open space where then they can come up and connect with your story, start the conversation, and then lead into the, okay, well tell me more about what you do. That’s what these bitches are, they aren’t, give me everything you do right up front. It’s give me a really lovely introduction that makes me want to know more about what you do. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:27:23    Perfectly said, couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Calan Breckon:     00:27:27    Yes. Um, where can people find out more about Startup Canada if they’re interested in all these things that you’ve been talking about? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:27:33    Yeah, so just check out We’ve also got lots of podcasts. We do a weekly sort of roundup of things happening in the entrepreneurship ecosystem every Monday, um, that you can sign up for. Um, and all of our programs, all of our flagship programs digitally are free. Um, for tour, if cost is a barrier to entry, um, you’re more than welcome to reach out to our team. We wanna make sure that everybody is able to come to the Startup Canada tour, um, in particular for Calgary and Brampton, if you’re listening from those regions. Uh, and you can also use the code SCTOUR20, if you are looking for a quick discount code, we’ll pop that in as well. Uh, ’cause we would love to see you at those tour stop. 

Calan Breckon:     00:28:12    How much is that discount to, is that like 20% off or something? 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:28:15    20% off. Okay, perfect. I think it’s like, I think they’re maybe 40 or 50 bucks. They’re not, not anything crazy. 

Calan Breckon:     00:28:20    Okay, perfect. I’ll make sure to have that in the show notes and I’ll make sure that you text me the exact one just in case. Yes, will do <laugh> as I make sure I get it right. Yeah. And that I have the links to all of that. Kayla, it has been absolutely magical. You are such a wealth of knowledge and I’m just so blessed to have you in my life and to have had you on this podcast. I hope that a lot of people listening have gotten a lot out of this and that it has better prepared them for when they go out into the world to pitch their businesses and how they can think about pitching their businesses. 

Kayla Isabelle:     00:28:49    I love that Calan, and, and having these resources coming through you as well, right? Like you’re bringing all these incredible thought leaders and entrepreneurs and all these great perspectives to your podcast. So amazing job and I’m so glad to have met you. 

Calan Breckon:     00:29:01    Yay. Okay, well thanks so much. Have a good one, Kayla. Wow. Wow, wowzaminelli, that was so, I learned so much in that podcast even about pitching, like Kayla just has all this knowledge in her and I’m just so happy that she’s doing the work she’s doing because I know she’s affecting change in so many people’s lives. You can find out more about Startup Canada programs at or just follow the link in the show notes. Thank you again for tuning in. Please do not forget to hit that subscribe button. And if you really enjoyed today’s episode, I would love a star rating from you. The Business Gay podcast is written, produced, and edited by me, Calan Breckon. And if you’re looking to start your own podcast or maybe even a company podcast, give me a shout That’s it for today’s episode. Peace, love, Rainbows.

Calan Breckon
Calan Breckon

Calan Breckon is an SEO Specialist and host of "The Business Gay" podcast. He has worked with companies such as Cohere and Canada Life and has been a guest on the "Online Marketing Made Easy" podcast with Amy Porterfield as well as featured in publications like Authority Magazine and CourseMethod.

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