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Research Guides

Campus Startups 101

A starting point for University of Toronto students looking for entrepreneurship opportunities and resources on campus

Pitch competitions

The following is a list of pitch competitions U of T students can enter to win money and other prizes to support their startups. Some are student-focused and others are open to the public.

Due to varying application cycles, some competitions on this list may be out of date by a year. Please check the individual pitch competition site for deadlines, eligibility and other key information. Inclusion on this page is not an endorsement by the library.

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Ontario
International

Are we missing something? Email to have it added to the list.

Canada-wide

Dragons' Den
Host: CBC
Applications are now open for Canadian entrepreneurs. Beginning in Toronto on March 2, the audition tour will be open to the public, as producers hit the road visiting Canadian cities coast-to- coast in search of the country’s best business ideas in need of a Dragon investment.
 

Fundica Roadshow
Host: Fundica
Type: Investors tour Canadian cities taking pitches from incorporated Canadian seed or growth stage companies with a technological component to their business and expected revenue growth of over 50%.
 

NEXT Canada
Host: NEXT Canada
Type: Founded in 2010 as The Next 36 by a group of pioneering business leaders and academics, NEXT Canada is today a leader in the delivery of cutting-edge programming designed to foster lifelong entrepreneurship in three streams: NextAI, Next 36, and Next Founders.


TiEQuest
Host: TiE
Open to startups at all stages across Canada, with the goal of receiving advice from industry professionals and networking with angel investors, venture capitalists, fund managers, and other professionals. $50,000 cash grand prize offered, as well as all-inclusive trips to Silicon Vallery for the top five finalists.
 

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Ontario

Accelerator Weekend
Host: Entrepreneurship Hatchery, U of T St George
Type: U of T students are matched into teams of four and work to build startups with mentorship support and then pitch for a cash prize

Access in Practice competition
Host: HECQO
The pitch competition invites you to come up with an innovative idea or solution that addresses a key barrier facing students during their postsecondary education experience. Share your insights and practical solutions with leaders in government, non-profit and postsecondary institutions to the challenges you and your peers routinely face.
 

AAGEF Ontario Entrepreneur Challenge
Host: Association des Alumni des Grands Ecoles Francaises
Pitch competition and networking event with live voting and awards.

 

Accessibility Innovation Showcase and Tech Pitch Competition
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
Five Ontario-based companies pitch accessibility-focused innovations to members of the investment community, leaders in accessibility and OCE representatives for a $20,000 award
 

Canadian Innovation In Sustainable Textile and Apparel
Host: MaRS
Early stage Canadian company that’s trying to reduce the environmental impact of the textile and/or apparel industries
 

CNE Innovation Garage Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition
Host: Canadian National Exhibition
Young entrepreneurs in agritech/foodtech, biotech, lifestyle innovation, social innovation and virtual/augmented reality will win category prizes and compete for top prize of $25,000
 

HealthKick Innovation Challenge
Host: MaRS
Cutting-edge health startups in the areas of biotech, medical devices, digital health, and consumer health and wellness present to judging panel and audience of early-stage investors
 

Ignite Capital Pitch-off
Host: Ignite Capital
Open to entrepreneurs in four categories: women, youth, immigrant, aboriginal. Online applicants who qualify will be invited to submit business plans and then the shortlist will be invited to pitch.
 

It’s a Start
Host: Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, George Brown College
Win $5K for your Startup! This April, ten startups will be selected to pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judges at Digifest 2019. All startups have the opportunity to pitch their business idea, convince the judges of its value, and impress the crowd in 5 minutes for the chance to win cash, space along with an opportunity to attend Beijing’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC).
 

Make Your Pitch
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence
Type: Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition invites high school students in Ontario to pitch their business ideas in a two-minute video. Twenty finalists are chosen and are awarded a trip to Toronto to pitch their ideas live at OCE’s Discovery conference and showcase, May 13 & 14, 2019, in front of a panel of judges from the entrepreneur community.
 

Ontario OBI ONtrepreneurs program
Host: Ontario Brain Institute
Canada's single largest award that catalyzes early stage entrepreneurs to commercialize brain-related technologies by accessing funding and support to launch or grow their neurotechnology ventures.
 

PitchItTOCityHall
Host: Open People Network (OPN)
#PitchIt is an entrepreneur-led, grassroots event that provides startups with a platform to market their product or service, drive brand awareness, and practice their funding pitch. Our aim is to foster community support and help entrepreneurs secure investments, attract talent, and polish their presentation skills.
 

Pitch Perfect
Host: Health Innovation Hub (H2i)
H2i’s Pitch Perfect Competition celebrates and supports student innovations on Health Matters. Six early stage innovations will be selected for the pitch competition where three Student Innovation Fellowships of $5,000 will be awarded
 

The Pitch: Where Startups State their Case
Host: Canadian Bar Association and LegalX
An exciting competition for Legal Tech startups from around the globe hoping to change the way we do law.
 

Procurement by Co-design
Host: MaRS and Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Healthcare providers post challenges and participants respond with “innovation briefs” to address those challenges.
 

The Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition
Hosts: Queen’s University
Undergraduate weekend competition
 

Social Enterprise Zone and Pitch Competition
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and partners
Five to eight companies pitch live for a chance to win $20,000 in business development funding and legal services.
 

Social Venture Pipeline Pitch Competition
Host: VentureLAB in partnership with York University, Seneca College and United Way Toronto and York Region
Compete for a chance to be selected to participate in the eight month CommunityBUILD accelerator + incubator program for high potential social ventures
 

Startup Launch Pad
Host: Canadian Music Week
Pitch competition for new businesses that are based in or connected to the music industry
 

Unlock your Big Idea
Hosts: Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs in Peel and Sheridan College
Type: Entrepreneurs in the Western GTA with the opportunity to compete for a chance to win one of several $10k prizes and mentorship through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs to accelerate their business.
 

UTSC Startup Competition
Hosts: The Hub, University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
Type: Selection process for determining residence within The Hub. Successful students are provided with funds and resources for moving their idea forward, including up to $7,000.
 

More lists:

FoundersBeta list of upcoming pitch competitions
StartUp Toronto list of pitch competitions
VentureLab list of funding opportunities for York Region, including pitch competitions

 

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International

Ericsson Innovation Awards
Host: Ericsson
Global competition that gives students the opportunity to develop innovative ICT projects in collaboration with Ericsson experts
 

The Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge
Host: Hello Tomorrow
Startup competition designed specifically for science and deeptech entrepreneurs developing breakthrough technologies. Startups gain visibility & connections in the deeptech network, one-on-one meetings with VCs & CVCs and the chance to win up to €100K equity-free funding.

 

Hult Prize
Host: Clinton Global Initiative
Students who want to change the world are being invited to compete for the $1,000,000 2017 Hult Prize. In addressing the 2017 challenge, they will come to grips with the refugee crisis, which has touched many Canadians personally.
 

Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge
Host: MIT Alliance of Michigan
Over $200,000 in cash and prizes. Finalists present at SAE's World Congress in Detroit.
 

Global Social Venture Competition
Host: International business school network
Empowers the next generation of social entrepreneurs by providing them with mentoring, exposure, and over $80,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into ventures that address the world’s most pressing challenges.
 

QuickFire and QuickPitch Challenges
Host: Johnson & Johnson Innovation
A prize or a series of prizes to the person or team(s) who submits the best biotech technology or solution to key challenges that address the healthcare issues of interest to Johnson & Johnson. Each challenge has its own prize amount, terms and conditions.

Paint the Future
Host: AzkoNobel
AkzoNobel is a global leader in the paints & coating industry, challenging you to go beyond traditional paints & coatings. Think about the endless possibilities of every surface in the world and what new technologies and solutions we can introduce and scale together. Open to startups, scale-ups, university or research institutes with solutions ready to apply at a larger scale.

Rice Business Plan Competition
Host: Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Rice University
Billed as the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition, this competition welcomes student teams from around the world. Must have min. one graduate student on your team. Consists of 42 teams from around the world competing for more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes.
 

SXSW Accelerator and Pitch Competition
Host: South By SouthWest Interactive
A live audience, as well as a panel of expert judges, will discover advancements in various sectors of emerging technology

 

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