Frequently Asked Questions

The Startup Canada Awards celebrate and distinguish outstanding achievement in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship. Individuals and organizations can self-nominate or nominate someone else for a Startup Canada Award. Click here to submit a nomination today!



How can I submit a nomination?

Applications must be submitted using the online system, which can be found here.

How many awards categories are there?

There are 17 awards in 2019.

Are the award categories for individuals or organizations?

Awards for individuals include:

  • Entrepreneur Promotion Award
  • Policy Innovation Award
  • Startup Community Leader of the Year Award
  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Newcomer Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Adam Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award

Awards for organizations include:

  • Entrepreneur Support Award
  • Community of the Year Award
  • Communities Collaboration of the Year Award
  • Global Entrepreneurship Award
  • Innovation Award
  • High-Growth Award
  • Social Enterprise Award
  • High-Growth Entrepreneurship Award
  • Entrepreneur's Choice Award

Can I nominate myself?

Yes, you can nominate yourself or your company.

Can I nominate someone else?

Yes, anyone can nominate someone else for any award.

Can I nominate myself or someone else for multiple awards?

Yes, you can nominate yourself or someone else for multiple awards.

Does it matter how many times I nominate for the same award?

No, it is enough to submit one application per person or business per award category.

Is there a corresponding French awards website and online application?

Yes, the website and online application are translated to French. 

Can I save the progress of my online nomination?

Yes, click on the "Resume Later" link on the top right of the Nomination Application.

Someone else started the nomination process for me but I have a reference letter to upload. How can I upload it?

You can either send the file to the person who nominated you and ask them to complete the online application. Or, if they have saved their nomination progress, you can ask them to provide you with the login credentials that were emailed to them. (Note, this email in most cases will land in a person's spam folder, you can ask them to check there).

Is a reference letter required?

Yes, the reference letter(s) provide supporting information that helps strengthen a nomination and helps our team verify the authenticity of the information provided in a submitted application. A reference letter does not have a set minimum or maximum word count that is required. Please submit a reference letter either as a .PDF or .DOC with a 10Mb max file size.

Nomination Deadline


The 2019 nomination deadline is March 24th, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT.

Nomination Questions


Nomination Form Questions for the Startup Canada Awards, by category, can be found here.

Nomination Submission


Nominations need to be submitted by applying online via:

English Submission Form:


French Submission Form:

Nomination Process


This year, there are 17 Startup Canada Awards in four categories.

Please follow the instructions below to Submit a Nomination:

Go to 2019 Startup Canada Awards Nomination

Please complete this form to submit a nomination for the 2019 Startup Canada Awards. You must hit the 'Submit' button at the end of the survey to complete the nomination process.

If you are starting a new nomination, click on the 'Next' button at the bottom of each page.

If you are completing an unfinished nomination, click on the 'Load Unfinished Survey' button to load your previous data or click on the link you received in your email.

WARNING: Clicking the 'Exit and clear survey' button will clear all data even if that data has been saved.  Only click on 'Exit and clear survey' if you wish to delete the current survey information you have entered to date.

Nomination Deadline: March 24th, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT.

Nomination Tips


Make your nominations stand out with these tips!

•   Budget the time | Ensure to first read over the nomination questions for the award(s) you are applying for and allocate an appropriate amount of time to complete the nomination form. Need to take a pause and come back to it? No problem! You can save your nomination and return at your convenience. Just don't miss the March 24th deadline.

•   Tell a compelling story | Persuading the judges with an engaging and enthusiastic read that pulls them in from the start. When telling the nominee's story, use descriptive language and demonstrate results with concrete examples.

•   Brief your references | Judges are looking for reference letters that demonstrate the author's experience with the nominee, and back up the claims made in the nomination form. Ensure your reference(s) are given sufficient time to write their letter before submitting it to you.

•   Edit and refine | A clean and polished nomination is a judge's delight. Ensure it is concise by focusing on impact and don't let avoidable mistakes like typos and factual mistakes take away from an otherwise well-thought-out nomination.

•   Get it in in time! | Nominations submitted after March 24th, 2019 at 11.59 PM PT will not be considered. To avoid deadline stress, try to get yours in early!

Note: You can nominate the same person, company, organization or yourself for multiple awards!

Adjudication Process


Each year the Startup Canada Awards Committee appoints Regional and National Adjudication Committees for the awards. The Adjudication Committees consist of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs and public figures.

Nominations are screened to ensure that sections are complete along with references and that the nominee qualifies for the award. Screened and qualified applications are then advanced to Regional Adjudicators.  

A minimum of three Adjudicators reviews and evaluate each application. Upon receipt of scores and notes, Adjudicators shortlist applicants. Regional Adjudicators meet to finalize Winners, who are then recognized at Regional events across Canada. If the category is ‘National-Only,’ the Winner is advanced to the Finale.

The National Adjudication Committee reviews the regional award winners, and shortlisted nominees for the national only awards, and determines the national award winners.

The recipient of the Adam Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award is selected by a special committee which includes the CEO of Startup Canada, Chair of the Startup Canada Board of Directors and the Chair of the Startup Canada Awards Adjudication Committee, among other distinguished individuals.

Event Dates


Information on the Regional and National Startup Canada Awards ceremonies will be posted at in the coming weeks.

What Needs to Be Included in the Nomination?


The best nominations will demonstrate the nominee's innovation, excellence, impact, and outstanding achievement in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship. Supporting links and video content are encouraged. At least one letter of reference must also be included. If you have any further questions about the application process, please email

Do Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Applicants Qualify?


Yes, individuals, groups and organizations from all industries, sectors and corporate status can apply. For Startup Canada, we promote ENTREPRENEURSHIP with a capital E, inclusive of the entire entrepreneurship community, including those in the social entrepreneurship and innovation sector. The Startup Canada movement is about breaking down silos and celebrating entrepreneurship in whatever form it manifests.




A startup is an organization that is led by (some of) the original founder(s), is less than 5 years old and that has fewer than 100 employees. A startup can be for-profit or not-for-profit.


Leadership is defined as providing the vision, decision making, motivation and inspiration to others for achieving a higher level of excellence and accomplishment. Leaders are individuals, who:

  • make decisions resulting in entrepreneurial, business and social, success,
  • have a positive influence,
  • are focused on people development,
  • demonstrate emotional intelligence,
  • demonstrate the ability to inspire and motivate others,
  • demonstrate participative leadership,
  • serve as a role model for ethics and integrity,
  • have developed a compelling vision (or more) in the course of their careers,
  • have created environments enabling other people to succeed.


Innovation is a process through which economic and social value is extracted from ideas and knowledge through the generation, development, implementation, utilization and commercialization of new or improved strategies, capabilities, products, services, or processes.

This is evaluated as the presence of new and/or improved approaches to solving entrepreneurial issues along the three main phases of the innovation process: ideation, implementation and internal exploitation or commercialization for achieving tangible results.


Impact is the effect that the applicant has had on the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is evaluated as:

  • Measurable - Applicant efforts have had a direct and certain impact Canadian Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Immediacy - Applicant has a certain immediate impact on the Canadian Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Duration - Applicant has had, has or will have a sustained durable impact on the Canadian Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Ripple Effect - Applicant has a high likelihood of creating a ripple effect throughout the Canadian Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Commitment - Applicant has demonstrated a strong commitment to the promotion of entrepreneurship in Canada.

Examples of impact are varied and could include all aspects of the entrepreneurial life cycle of activities include research and development, sustainable development, globalization, investment environment, intellectual capital development and entrepreneurship culture.