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Ontario Centre of Innovation

Canada Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge (CUSIC)

The Canada-Ukraine Security Innovation Challenge (CUSIC) combines the innovation power of Canada and Ukraine to bilaterally source and explore solutions to major national security challenges. This initiative is a collaboration between Ukrainian Startup Fund, Ontario Centre of Innovation, and Communitech.

CUSIC will surface tech solutions by having entrepreneurs participate in a bilateral competition and showcase. Qualified companies will have the opportunity to pitch to Canadian and Ukrainian national security stakeholders and may be selected for feasibility studies, procurement and adoption projects. This challenge will be the focus of Communitech’s Fast Track Security program until November.

CUSIC is bringing the national security community together to surface solutions to challenges identified by Canadian and Ukrainian security partners, with the goal of commercialization through piloting and procurement opportunities. 

Building a dynamic and engaged national security innovation ecosystem

In this accelerated model, founders and partners will explore and define challenges collaboratively, creating close alignment between solution providers (founders) and solution seekers (partners). This is an opportunity to showcase founder tech in Canada and Ukraine’s national security arena.

Canadian and Ukrainian technology solving national security challenges.

Founders will benefit from engagement with stakeholders, and the national security community will be energized through the program process. Stakeholders will recognize this as a joint effort between Ukraine and Canada to support the safety and security of both countries.

Finding better ways, together.

We’re facilitating opportunities for challenge partners and our tech ecosystem to work together and share the resource load and risk associated with piloting and procurement.

CUSIC Call for Solutions open August 21st

Applications close September 25, 2023 at 11:59PM.

Canadian and Ukrainian tech companies with commercial-ready solutions are encouraged to propose solutions for the following challenges. Selected companies will receive coaching and support from a roster of experienced leaders in the national security industry from across Canada and Ukraine.

They will also be invited to present at the CUSIC Solutions Showcase event to an audience of subject-matter experts, national-security partners and potential investors.

The Canadian Challenges 


Information sharing around cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities

How might we increase timely information sharing around cybersecurity threats and vulnerability across NATO nations, with built in accreditation and approval mechanisms.


Combating insider threats in National Security networks

How might we combat insider threats in National Security networks?


Managing resiliency and penetration testing

How might we effectively manage resiliency and penetration testing maintenance programming.


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.


Secure communications

How might we enable secure, undetectable, and fast communications, including quantum secure transfer of data.

The Ukrainian Challenges 


Predicting cyber attacks technologies


Data encryption systems


Systems of protection against information weapons


Secure management and communication tools



Protection against malicious code written by OpenAl’s GPT-based models class tools.


Automatic Security Posture Assessment Tool

A solution that would be able automatically map users in the directory (AD or else) to the RBAC and ABAC controls in DBs, SaaS products, and other third-party systems by utilizing the API/CLI of the third-party solution/system.


Network Traffic Analysis OSINT Tool

A tool specifically focused on performing ad-hoc OSINT and enrichment on network traffic flows/files based on input data, this tool would be useful in attributing threat actors using specific IOCs and flows that are triggered by certain tools, it would allow a further prediction of possible attack vectors in case a signature is mapped to the threat actor.


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.

Made possible by:

Communitech Fast Track Security
OC Innovations

The CUSIC journey for founders:

August 21 – September 25, 2023

Call for Solutions
Canadian and Ukrainian founders can apply to the Canadian and Ukrainian national cybersecurity challenges presented. 

September 12 – September 27, 2023

Adjudication of Solutions
The CUSIC panel of adjudicators will review and adjudicate founder solutions and provide feedback to founders. This panel consists of national security experts in cybersecurity, military and national defense.

September 27 – October 6, 2023

Founder Notification
Founder’s whose solutions have a possibility of solving the challenges presented will be notified and selected for our Solutions Showcase event. Founder companies who are not selected will be given feedback and further connections with our partners for guidance. 

October 6 – November 3

Coaching & Advice Sessions
Selected founders will be provided opportunities for coaching and advice from industry experts. This will include a mandatory pitch coaching session prior to the Solution Showcase.

November 9, 2023 9:00AM ET/3:00PM GMT

Solutions Showcase Event
This will be a virtual event where the selected founders companies will showcase their tech solutions to an audience of subject matter experts, national security partners, potential investors and more.

November 9 – December 31, 2023

Solution Receptor Meetings
Solution receptors will have meetings with the select founder companies and provide industry connections.

November 21 – 22, 2023

Rebuild Ukraine Conference Panel Discussion
Founder companies that participated in the Solutions Showcase will be invited to the Rebuild Ukraine Conference in Toronto to discuss their tech solutions to the cybersecurity challenges that both Canada and Ukraine face.

Challenge Partners

Kyiv School of Economics
Cyber Unit Tech

Program Partners

Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
Rogers Cyber Secure Catalyst


Digital Governance Council
ezSec Inc.
North Forge
Toronto Metropolitan University

Frequently asked questions

CUSIC is open to any Canadian and Ukrainian tech company with a solution to the proposed challenges.

What is the Ontario Centre of Innovation?

The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) brings industry, academic, and government partners together to invest in collaborative R&D, technology development, and commercialization opportunities that generate the highest return on innovation for Ontarians. As an ecosystem connector, OCI initiates unparalleled partnership opportunities, develops and manages successful industry-academic collaborations, supports high-potential SMEs in commercializing ground-breaking research, and provides hands-on training and skills development opportunities for the next generation of highly skilled talent.

OCI drives economic growth and job creation through investments in the development, commercialization, and adoption of advanced technologies.

What is Communitech?

Established in 1997 in Waterloo Region, Communitech was built by tech founders who saw the need for a community of support to help ensure the future prosperity of Canada. Today, Communitech is Canada’s leading innovation hub, supporting a community of more than 1,200 founders by providing accelerated opportunities to access talent, capital and sales.

As Canada’s tech supercharger, Communitech helps founders start, grow and succeed by:

  • Hiring and retaining the smartest, brightest and most experienced people
  • Accessing growth financing at every stage
  • Selling to the biggest customers at home and around the world
  • Connecting the right people at the right time – peers who have been there before, coaches who can guide them through the difficult spots and partners from all over Canada

What is the Ukrainian Startup Fund?

UKRAINIAN STARTUP FUND is the one-of-a-kind state institution that helps innovative projects and technology startups raise funds at the early stages and launch their projects. The fund is the driver of the startup ecosystem development, provides conditions for the growth of the sector, creates a positive investment image of the Ukrainian tech industry abroad, and represents Ukrainian innovative solutions around the world.

Do I have to be a Communitech member to participate in CUSIC?

Canadian companies accepted into CUSIC will be asked to commit to a Communitech membership, which unlocks additional support and programming beyond the collaborative.

Do I have to be a Ukrainian Startup Fund member to participate in CUSIC?

Ukrainian Startup Fund is a state-owned legal entity that offers financial and non-financial support for the early-stage startups. Therefore, participation is free for Ukrainian companies accepted into CUSIC.

When do applications close for CUSIC Call for Solutions?

The application window for CUSIC is open from August 21 to September 25 2023.

Who can apply to the CUSIC Call for Solutions?

Canadian and Ukrainian tech companies with commercial-ready solutions to the proposed challenges are encouraged to apply. 

For Canadian companies to be eligible for CUSIC, companies must be headquartered in Canada and/or be majority Canadian owned (>50%).

For Ukrainian companies to be eligible for CUSIC, companies must be operating in Ukraine.