We cannot wait to meet your baby business! 

A pitch deck is nothing short of an introduction to your start-up, and you do not get a second chance at making a first impression! 

So roll up your sleeves and tie up that hair because this guide will articulate, in meticulous detail, how you can make your pitch deck stand out through the BHive Global Entrepreneurs Incubation (GE) Program Admissions Process. 

BHive’s GE Incubation Program is powered by the Canadian Start-Up Visa Program, a Federal Immigration and Economic Development Program actively looking for innovative immigrant entrepreneurs and businesses that can create employment in Canada and benefit from using Canada as a launchpad to enter the global market. 

If you’re reading this, you already know that your start-up is an exquisite fit. So use this pitch deck to get us to sit up, take notice and tap our feet to your rhythm.  

A thorough and well-put-together pitch deck can give us a deep understanding of your business and you as an entrepreneur! Your pitch deck is evaluated by teams of vastly experienced and established Canadian entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. 

Let’s get down to business; here are some valuable tips on how to write a pitch-perfect deck!

At a glance, your pitch deck must comfortably tick off the following checklist:

  • Encapsulate your venture fully and clearly
  • Include all the information required to assess 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.

So, how do you diffuse all of this information into just 20 slides?

First, go through the list of slide suggestions below

Second, do your homework – thoroughly – for each slide topic

Tripple check your data before adding it to your presentation

Finally, remember that the best pitch decks rarely come together overnight or even in a week. Don’t stress; this is part of the fun you’ll look back on in your entrepreneurial journey.

Pitch Deck Slides Checklist

  1. Elevator Pitch
  2. Applicant Profile
  3. Current Problem
  4. Solution
  5. Innovation 
  6. Traction
  7. Target Market
  8. Business Model
  9. Canadian and Global Competition
  10. Marketing Plan
  11. Product Demo
  12. Investor Information
  13. Why Canada
  14. Canada Road Map

1. How can I write an attractive Elevator Pitch?

If you were to meet someone in an elevator and want to introduce your business, time is ticking; how would you leave them wanting more after a 2 min intro? (that is, if you’re lucky enough to be in a skyscraper!) 

Here are 5 things everyone looks for in an elevator pitch:

  • Your company name
  • The problem you are addressing
  • The solution you’ve developed
  • Who is your solution helping
  • Why should they use your solution?
Tech Incubator Elevator Pitch template, Tips for making an amazing pitch deck

For example, here’s an elevator pitch using the Harvard-MIT template “Do you hate shearing stubborn alpacas by hand? I’m Joe Neely from DroneClip. I enjoy connecting animal lovers to technologies like our DroneScoop waste solution. Our hands-free DroneClip shearing system outperforms hand shears so you can limit your employee hours. We saved one rancher, Bob Mikabob, over 40 weekly work hours.”

2. What should my Applicant Profile include?

Over the years, we have heard so many investors wonder why start-up founders place their profiles right at the end. Not to say that we like judging a book by its cover. But, considering the business is young, we are actually betting on you more than anything – the entrepreneur. We need to be convinced of your skills, your execution capabilities, and your growth potential first. A good entrepreneur can lead any business to success. 

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
  • Linked In Profile Link

BHive Tip: Connect your experience and accomplishments to how they would support the performance and growth of this venture. If you have partners, create a profile for each of them.

3. What’s the most impactful way to present and communicate my problem?

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

What is SO pertinent about the problem that you’ve based your entire business on it?! Convince us that people are willing to spend money solving this problem. This is your chance. You can set your solution (hint – the next slide) up for a grand welcome if you get your problem slide right. Here are some recommendations:

Describe the gap in the market in simple terms, don’t use too much jargon.

  • Whose Problem Is It Anyway? 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.
  • Is the Problem Verifiable? Attach market research to validate the gap to justify the need and urgency for your problem with data points. Use Primary and Secondary Research to demonstrate the real gap. If you already have social proof, then add that in too.
  • What Will People Pay to solve the problem? Touch upon the commercial viability of this specific market. E.g. Is the market willing to pay to solve this problem yet? 

BHive Tip:  If your problem is not unique enough or if there already exist solutions for the problem. Briefly state here existing solutions may fall short of yours.

4. How can I blow investors away with my solution?

You may have put in years of work to create your solution – unfortunately, you only get one slide to tell us! If you don’t give us that instant Aha! moment, the slide probably needs more work. 

Some great Aha! moments sound like, Aha! Why didn’t I think of this before? Aha! They’ve figured it out! Aha! That sounds like something I would pay for! 

But we digress; here’s how you can incite these reactions:

  • Get right to it: Show us your solution. Don’t get wrapped up in jargon. This is the time to use more than just text. Show off images, graphics, snapshots, diagrams or videos of your solution.
  • Prioritize: Sometimes, it’s easy to get into how your solution works. But it’s too early. Right now, we just want to know if yours seems like the right solution to the problem. The impact is lost if you throw too many features and benefits at someone new to your concept.
  • Why Canada: A critical part of qualifying your start-up for the BHive Global Entrepreneur Incubation Program and the Canadian Start-Up Visa is clearly laying out why Canada is a great market for you to enter. Consider global free trade agreements, manufacturing, and research capabilities, and remember that you will have to illustrate your roadmap to Canada later.

BHive Tip:  Avoid long paragraphs, avoid too many images or very long explainer videos.

5. What type of Innovation should I highlight in my pitch deck?

Innovation is key. We repeat. Innovation is key. Our biggest tip to succeeding in the BHive Global Entrepreneurs Incubation (GE) Program is understanding how you are innovative and how to showcase that innovation to others.

But innovation doesn’t only mean a unique product or service; 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 in relation to the Canadian and Global Markets.

6. What kind of Traction am I expected to show in my pitch deck?

Prove naysayers are wrong with this one slide because Business + Traction = Legitimacy!

Your traction validates your business and forces investors to take you seriously. Here are the statistics you should reveal:

  • 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)

BHive Tip:  Don’t be stingy with the number of slides here; get into the specifics with graphs, flowcharts, and percentages. Show off traction in Canadian or International markets if you already have them.

7. How can I best describe my audience in my pitch deck?

The most important stakeholder in your business is not your investor, not yourself, not your employees – you guessed it – it’s your customer. One could even argue, without customers, are you even a business? 

By showing a deep understanding of your Target Market, you can prove that you are in sync with your audience’s needs, wants, motivations and behaviour patterns.

  • 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 

BHive Tip:  If you are a young start-up, focus on your SOM. Give us stats and common communication channels, and make us really believe you understand them. Read how to calculate your TAM, SAM and SOM here. 

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

A business model tells investors how your business functions and, most importantly, how you bring in the moolah! The best way to present your business model is through a flowchart of your operations and revenue generation. 

You can rarely pull a Ctrl C/Ctrl V for a business model. Start by combining the following pieces of your business functions and sequence them to create a business workflow.

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

BHive Tip: If you’re not sure how to represent your business through a model yet, 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.

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

For every company that says, We have no competition; we’ve got a, You know nothing Jon Snow, locked and loaded. 

You might think you make your start-up more attractive if you have no competitors, but that’s a red flag for most investors. It begs questions like; is the market too nascent? Are customers willing to pay for a solution yet? Are there too many barriers to entry? 

Or it could reveal a lack of market knowledge on the founder’s part. Basically, investors want to see an honest competitor landscape.

Without looking too far, you will find competitors that are direct and indirect. Work backwards from how your customers are already dealing with the problem you’re solving. Here are some creative ways to showcase a realistic landscape while still proving that your solution has earned its place.

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 for 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.

competitive analysis sample for pitch decks

BHive Tip:  Create a separate slide to incorporate your competitor analysis for the Canadian or Global market.

10. How much of my Marketing Plan should I reveal in a Pitch Deck?

We all know a Marketing Deck could easily go on for many, many slides. But there absolutely is such a thing as TMI in a pitch deck!

Striking a balance between an overview and specifics is the best way to get us interested without boring us with too much math.

Here are the key pieces of information we want to see:

  • Strategy: How would you put out your brand and bring in customers? Is it a combination of an online/offline strategy? Would you need large teams to execute your marketing strategy? What does your sales funnel look like? 
  • Channels: Once you have defined your strategy, talk about the channels you intend to use for execution. 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 on the Cost of Acquisition and Return on Investment. If you do not have historical data, create realistic projections based on benchmarks you can find on the internet.
  • Tell us your story: You may be great at convincing investors of your idea, but unless your customers are 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 even a sample campaign copy.

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

11. Should I include a Demo in my pitch deck?

Yes! Let’s see your product/service at work! 

BHive Tip: Double check all video links before you hit the submit button.

12. How much Investor Information do I need to share in a pitch deck?

All of it! It is imperative to reveal all past funding and investment your start-up has received. You should also add the valuation of your company today. If you are a pre-revenue business, find some valuation methods here.

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

BHive Global Entrepreneurs Incubation (GE) Program powered by the Start-Up Visa Program allows you to immigrate to Canada and scale up your business. Expanding your business to a new market is no easy feat. It takes courage, skills, and a fire in your belly to make it a global start-up.

Communicate your passion with a plan! Tell us what Canada can do for your business and what you can do for Canada! Include these to make the best business case for yourself.

  • Your rationale for your business: Think Canadian Legislation, Serviceable Obtainable Market, 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. 
  • 30/90/180 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.

BHive Tip: The design and presentation of your pitch deck let us peek into your soul. Kidding, but not really. Good quality aesthetics can transform the experience of your pitch deck. Spend time on your brand style, look, feel and personality. If you do not have a professional designer, you can also purchase templates online to ensure a professional finish.

Ready to take the next step with your business?

Book a call with our BHive Venture Manager, who can help review your pitch deck for our application.