Both Canadian and Ukraine tech startups can apply to the challenge until Sept. 11

Posted: 6 Hours Ago
Last Updated: 16 Minutes Ago

The Canada-Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge is calling on Canadian and Ukraine tech companies to submit proposals to address a range of national-security challenges. The group wants to strengthen Canada and Ukraine’s technological expertise, and hope to commercialize the solutions that are selected through piloting and procurement opportunities. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

UPDATE: Since the publication of this story the organizers of the Canadian-Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge has been extended to September 25, 2023 and it has been reflected in this digital story.

There’s a call out to tech companies in Canada and Ukraine to find solutions around national security challenges that can help both countries, and others around the world.

The group, which is made up of Communitech in Waterloo region, the Ontario Centre of Innovation and the Ukrainian Startup Fund have outlined challenges on
the Canada Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge or CUSIC website. 

Ihor Markevych, the head of strategy and development with the Ukrainian Startup Fund says the challenges for this competition are unique to both countries.

“The Ukrainian side, it’s kind of dual purpose because we have a lot of challenges during wartime that are connected with the intelligence and cybersecurity war with Russia. That’s why our challenges are based on that condition,” said Markevych.

“The Canadian side, it’s more about security,” said Markevych.

Some of the Canadian challenges are:

  • Combating insider threats in National Security networks

    • How might we combat insider threats in National Security networks?
  • Monitoring & protection against malicious code

    • How might we continuously monitor and protect against malicious code and attacks written by large language and neural network models such as Open AI.

Some of the Ukraine challenges are: 

  • Cybersecurity

    • Protection against malicious code written by OpenAl’s GPT-based models class tools.
  • Automatic Security Posture Assessment Tool

    • A tool that would be able to map gaps in posture to specific Cybersecurity Strategy Actions in annual, bi-annual and long-term periods.

Claudia Krywiak the CEO of the Ontario Centre of Innovation says they’re accepting proposals to their challenge from all across the country.

“We’re inviting startups that not only have commercial-ready solutions but have innovative ideas and solutions that can be applied from other areas and from other sectors,” Krywiak.

“These are challenges, and in some cases there aren’t clear solutions currently to some of these challenges. So it’s hard to say what the solutions look like without first engaging the innovation community, and we’re trying to do this through this call.”

(Joe Pavia/CBC)

Both Canadian and Ukraine tech startups can apply to the challenge until Sept. 25, at the
Canadian-Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge website.

A panel of adjudicators, including national security experts, will review the submissions.

Those startups selected will receive coaching and guidance and their solutions will be presented at a showcase scheduled for Nov. 9.

Despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine businesses are still operating and groups like the Ukrainian Startup Fund are reaching out to startups to create future business opportunities.

For every problem or tech threat that arises, someone is looking to develop a solution. There’s a call out to tech companies in Canada and Ukraine to team up and propose solutions around issues including cybersecurity, data encryption, and malicious code attacks to name a few. Representatives from the Canadian and Ukraine side talk about the challenge.  7:34

‘Country that’s still in the status of war’

Markevych and his team are working at a location in Kiev about 600 kms away from where the war activity is taking place.

But despite the distance, Ihor Markevych explained the city still felt the effect of the war the day CBC K-W spoke to him via video call.

“Last night there were more than 20 missiles in Kiev. All of them were shot down by Patriots and all the other weapons that we get from our international partners, thanks to them,” said Markevych.

“But yes, you still can feel you are inside the country that’s still in the status of war,” said Markevych.

Markevych notes business in Ukraine is at normal levels compared to years before. And the war has led to a new industry of defence tech that he believes will “define the face of a new innovative Ukraine.”



Joe Pavia


Joe Pavia is a Reporter/Editor with CBC K-W 89.1 FM. He’s normally heard weekdays on The Morning Edition but also covers a wide range of news and feature stories for both radio and web. If you have a story idea, email Joe at