How to Write an Effective Pitch Deck for TBDC’s Soft Landing Program

As part of your Start-Up Visa application process, entrepreneurs with qualifying businesses must get a Letter of Support from a government-designated organization. As a government-designated organization, TBDC’s Soft Landing Program is designed to help international start-ups with high-growth potential take their businesses globally and receive our support for their Start-Up Visa application. 

Your business pitch deck is one of the most critical steps to qualify for our Soft Landing Program. This is your opportunity to prove your entrepreneurial passion, intent and Canadian road map to your government-designated organization.

TBDC and IRCC are looking for innovative immigrant entrepreneurs and businesses that can create employment in Canada and compete globally. 

A thorough pitch deck can give us a deep understanding of your business, you as an entrepreneur and the business-market fit in North America. Your pitch deck is evaluated by esteemed teams of vastly experienced and established Canadian entrepreneurs, mentors and investors.

To streamline a pitch deck for the Start-Up Visa Program, it’s helpful to break down messages in a format that will help create a solid business case for your Canadian growth plan. Bookmark these tips for a pitch-perfect deck.

What does a compelling pitch deck for Start-Up Visa Program look like?

  • It should encapsulate your venture fully with verifiable facts
  • It should include the scope of your venture with context to Canada and the Global Market
  • Every slide should look and feel like it represents your brand
  • The length of the deck should be concise, no longer than 20 slides.

What should your pitch deck include?

How to make your pitch deck content more effective?

Pitch Decks culminate an intense level of research, strategic thinking and analysis. The best pitch decks rarely come together overnight or even in a week. At TBDC, we receive many applications daily, and our team is trained to find the pearl in the ocean. It is recommended that eligible entrepreneurs do their homework thoroughly, collate data and create draft material before submitting their final pitch deck. 

The recommendations below will help you find clarity in the direction, depth and presentation style.

How can I write an effective Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a very concise but convincing description of your venture. Let TBDC experts quickly grasp why you are a good fit for the Start-Up Visa program in less than 30 seconds. 

Foolproof Elevator Pitch Template for North American Market

An effective way to put together an elevator pitch is to ensure it presents 

  • Your company name
  • The problem you are addressing
  • The solution you’ve developed
  • Who is your solution helping (preferably markets in North America)
  • Why should they use your solution

For example, “PhotoOps is a very easy-to-use photo and video editing mobile app, addressing marketers and content creators across the globe. Our app uses AI to execute intuitive photo edits and video edit layouts synced to trending music. 20 Marketers and Content creators in the US and Canada have already tested our product and have witnessed their editing time drop from an average of 1 hour to 30 minutes.”

How can I create a strong Applicant Profile?

Many pitch decks leave the founder profiles until the end, not realizing that the IRCC and TBDC are betting on you as an entrepreneur first. We need to be convinced of your skills, execution capabilities and growth potential. Put your best foot forward. Include the following in your profile slide:

  • Full Name
  • Current Title in Company
  • Ownership of Proposed Canadian Company
  • Education Details
  • Relevant Experience
  • Accomplishments
  • Professional Headshot

TBDC Tip: Connect your past experience and accomplishments to how it would support the performance and growth of this venture in Canada.

What’s the best way to present the Problem I am solving in my pitch deck?

“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem,” said Albert Einstein 

Your problem slide is responsible for convincing us of the pertinence and depth of the problem you’re solving for an international market. It can be a powerful slide that can set your solution up for a grand welcome if done right. Here are some recommendations to create an impact articulating your Problem in this pitch deck. 

  • Describe the gap in the market in simple terms, don’t use too much jargon.
  • Define who is experiencing this problem and come at it with empathy. An empathetic view of the problem from the eyes of the target market tells us you genuinely understand the problem.
  • Attach market research to validate the gap and justify your problem’s need and urgency with data points. Use Primary and Secondary Research to demonstrate the actual gap. If you already have social proof, then add that in too.
  • Touch upon the commercial viability of this specific market. E.g. Is the market willing to pay to solve this problem yet?  

TBDC Tip:  If your problem is not unique enough or solutions that already exist for the problem. Briefly state why existing solutions may be inadequate compared to yours.

What is the best way to present my Solution in the pitch deck?

You may have put in years of work to create your solution. But you have just one slide to distill it down to your designated organization. A solid Solution Slide is focused and provides an instant Aha! moment to the problem slide. 

  • Get right to it: Show us your solution. Don’t get wrapped up in jargon here, either. Show off your solution’s images, graphics, snapshots, diagrams or videos.
  • Prioritize: Sometimes, it’s easy to understand how your solution works. But it’s too early. At this stage, we want to know if yours seems like the right solution to the problem. If you throw in too many features and benefits, the impact is lost, and confusion could arise.
  • Why Canada: Point clearly in the direction of how this solution could serve the Canadian and Global markets.

TBDC Tip:  Don’t over-explain. Avoid long paragraphs, avoid too many images or very long explainer videos.

What kind of Innovation should I highlight pertinent to the SUV program?

This slide is the ideal spot to validate your qualification for the Start-Up Visa Program because innovation is an essential precursor for this program. Innovation doesn’t only mean a unique product or service, but it also means creative business models, winning customer acquisition strategies, disruptive growth plans and more. Get out all the heavy hitters and demonstrate your solution’s ability to become the next big global start-up. 

  • Throw light on unique attributes: Describe or show what makes your solution unique.
  • Scalability: Highlight your proposed strategy to scale the solution from your home country to Canada or globally. 
  • Job & Revenue Creation: Talk about the scope of job creation and revenue generation concerning the Canadian and Global Markets.

What kind of Traction should I collate for my pitch deck?

This slide can legitimize your pitch in an instant. Anyone who may have had doubts until now can be proven wrong with the validation you show here. Here are the statistics you should reveal to build a strong case for your Canadian start-up plan

  • Product Milestone (status of development/execution)
  • Solution Specific KPIs (downloads, sales, completed projects, subscriptions)
  • Revenue Generated
  • Users/Clients (growth rate, feedback/testimonials)
  • Marketing Metrics (user acquisition rate, reach, engagement, press accolades)

TBDC Tip:  Spread this across a few slides and get into the specifics with numbers, graphs or flowcharts. If you have traction in Canadian or International markets already – highlight it!

How can I best present my Audience in my pitch deck?

“Customer is King,” this age-old mantra has stood the test of time. Their customers drive any successful company; if a customer wants it, it would be remiss not to lean into it. By showing a deep understanding of your Target Market, you can prove that you listen to your audience and are in sync with their needs, wants, motivations and behaviour patterns.

TAM, SOM, and SAM, What is total addressable market, Serviceable Available Market, and Serviceable Obtainable Market
  • Share your addressable market: Based on your business size, you can zoom in on your Total Addressable Market, Serviceable Addressable Market and Serviceable Obtainable Market. 
  • Profile your audience: Creating a demographic and psychographic profile of your audience puts a face and personality to your customer. If you’re a B2B business, create profiles of the business you’re targeting.
  • Canadian SOM: Share your initial research on the Serviceable Obtainable Market in Canada 

TBDC Tip:  If you are a young start-up, focus on your SOM. Read how to calculate your TAM, SAM and SOM here.

How do I get my Business Model right in the Pitch Deck?

A business model allows TBDC to get an overview of how your business functions and, most notably, how you make money. A business model slide should be a flowchart representation of your process and revenue generation, not a one-size fits all type of slide. A marketplace business would have a different model from a manufacturing one. A SAAS product would have a different model from a social entrepreneurship business. 

Start by combining these pieces of your business functions and line them up to create a business workflow.

  • Customer Segments
  • Key Activities
  • Key Channels
  • Key Partners
  • Revenue Streams

TBDC Tip: If you’re unsure how to represent your business through a model, we recommend putting down all your thoughts on the Business Model Canvas. A strategic format created by Swiss business theorist Alexander Osterwalder. This format has a specific flow of filling it out – don’t start without getting that right.

How should I display a realistic Competitive Landscape while still coming out on top?

Competitors can be direct or indirect. A thoughtful way to find your indirect competition is to work backwards from how your customers are already dealing with the problem you’re solving. Your competition is a key resource that informs business, pricing, marketing, positioning, and revenue generation strategies. 

We need to understand your competitive landscape for the SUV program in the Canadian, North American, and global market context. We encourage you to map out the competition from this perspective. 

Many creative ways showcase a realistic landscape while proving that your solution has earned its place.

competitive analysis how to for pitch deck
  • Positioning Map: Select 2 key traits that act as market indicators for your competitive landscape and map out where you and your competitors stand on each quadrant. Specify white space in quadrants based on the selected traits to enhance the perceived value of your solution.
  • Competitive Analysis: Use detailed tables to convey feature, and benefit comparisons with competitors. You can use this to display differences in pricing, product range, customer segments, marketing messaging and more.

TBDC Tip:  Include competitors from the Canadian, North American or Global market.

How much of my Marketing Plan should I include in the Pitch Deck?

We all know a Marketing Deck could quickly go on for many slides. However, the perfect pitch deck should balance an overview and specifics. Here is an excellent way to go about balancing the marketing plan detailing. 

  • Strategy: Present your method to put out your brand and bring in customers in North America. Is it a combination of an online/offline strategy? Would you need large teams to execute your marketing strategy? What would be your sales funnel? 
  • Channels: Once you have defined your strategy, talk about the specific channels you intend to use to execute. If you have a digital forward strategy, are you relying on social media? Google ads, SEO, influencers? 
  • Return on Investment: Dip your toes into some numbers by sharing a % breakdown of marketing spend. Back it up with historical evidence of the Cost of Acquisition and Return on Investment. If you do not have historical data, create realistic projections. 
  • Tell us your story: You may be great at convincing TBDC of your idea, but unless your customers are not convinced, you have no sales. Share samples of your branding narrative. It could be a few sample social media ads, a sample media headline, or a sample campaign copy. 

Tips: If you don’t already have a marketing team, get a professional to help you with branding and marketing communication content. Your visuals and brand language are critical factors in creating a positive association with your venture.

Should I include a Demo in my pitch deck?

Clicking out of the presentation deck is a rare occurrence. It’s helpful to keep all the necessary information inside the deck. Use good-quality images, concise tables, and short videos that are aesthetically pleasing to ensure a comfortable experience.

How much Investor Information am I expected to share in the pitch deck?

It is imperative to reveal past funding and investment your start-up has received before this point. You should also add the valuation of your company today.

In the early days of your start-up, you could use a couple of different methods to value your business without recurring revenue or other key revenue indicators. One of the most comprehensive is the football field method, where you try out 3-7 types of valuation and map them comparatively.

Here is an excellent article on several different valuation methods you can try.

How can I champion my Canadian Dream and Game Plan in my pitch deck?

The Start-Up Visa Program allows you to immigrate to Canada and set up your business. As phenomenal as this opportunity is, it is also no easy feat. It takes courage, skills and a fire in your belly to make it a global start-up.

Don’t miss this chance to share your vision for the business and how Canada acts as a launchpad. Include the following to make the best business case for yourself.

  • Your rationale for your business: Think Canadian Legislation, current market size, industry leadership, partnerships, ease of business and more.
  • What you can add to the Canadian market: Highlight the value that your business can bring to the Canadian industry. Jobs, technology, expertise, relationships and more. 
  • Road Map: We highly recommend sharing a road map of your first 30, 90, and 180 days in Canada. Include your starting-up milestones, product/service launch pipelines, and hiring plan.

Moving Your Start-Up to North America

Your pitch deck’s design is a window into your brand style, look, feel and personality. You can purchase templates online to ensure a professional finish if you do not have a professional designer. 

Ready to take the next step with your business? Contact us to book a call with our specialist, who can help review your pitch deck for our application.

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