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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. Please check the individual pitch competition site for deadlines, eligibility and other key information.

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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

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

AGE-WELL Pitch Competition
Hosts: AGE-WELL, in partnership with Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.,  Aging2.0 Local | Toronto, the Ontario Brain Institute, and the Women’s Brain Health Initiative
Type: Technology to support people with dementia

CNE Innovation Garage Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition
Host: Canadian National Exhibition
Type: 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

Customer Experience Innovation Retail Competition
Hosts: Mercedes Benz, Compass Group, TWG
Type: Canada’s first enterprise-driven technology startup competition for the automotive and food retail sectors

David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
Type: University and college students from across Ontario’s academic institutions to address challenges facing the energy sector

Host: GameON: Ventures conference
Type: Pitch comp for interactive digital media startups

GlobalStart Pitch Competition
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and partners
Type: Early-stage incorporated Ontario-based technology start-up companies under three years old that are founded by young entrepreneurs 18 to 29, seeking a target market outside of Canada. First competition was held at OCE Discovery 2016

H2i Health Commercialization Award
Host: Health Innovation Hub
Type: Six U of T student project proposals will be invited to pitch their entrepreneurial innovations on health matter ideas for one of three student entrepreneurial fellowships of $5,000 each.

HealthEDGE Challenge
Host: Health Innovation Hub (H2i), Dept. of Computer Science Innovation Lab, and Entrepreneurship Hatchery at University of Toronto
Type: Multi-stage problem-solution style competition in which challenges are invited from the healthcare community and startups offer solutions. Winners are offered a fellowship to develop the solutions.

HealthKick Innovation Challenge
Host: MaRS
Type: 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
Type: 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.

Imagination Catalyst pitch competition
Host: OCAD University
Type: Evening event for Imagination Catalyst cohorts includes pitches and product demos, and an audience vote

It’s a Start
Host: Digifest
Type: Free business pitch competition open to pros and students alike, for cash, space and mentorship.

Perfect Pitch
Host: The Hub, University of Toronto Scarborough
Type: Student-focused workshop and competition hosted by the local campus startup accelerator

The Pitch: Where Startups State their Case
Host: Canadian Bar Association and LegalX
Type: First-ever legal innovation startup competition, taking place at 2016 CBA Legal Conference, Ottawa

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

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

Social Enterprise Zone and Pitch Competition
Host: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and partners
Type: Ontario-based social-enterprise companies

Social Venture Pipeline Pitch Competition
Host: VentureLAB in partnership with York University, Seneca College and United Way Toronto and York Region
Type: 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
Type: Pitch competition for new businesses that are based in or connected to the music industry

Host: TiE
Type: Annual multi-stage business venture competition for all North American startups, with cash prizes, mentorship, and TiE membership

Unlock your Big Idea
Hosts: Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs in Peel
Type: Entrepreneurs in the Western GTA with the opportunity to compete for a chance to win a share of $62,500 and mentorship through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs to accelerate their business.

Up-Start! Competition
Hosts: MaRS Discovery District        
Type: Business pitch competition open to participants enrolled in MaRS’ Entrepreneurship 101 program. Participants must have a business idea in the ICT, clean tech or health sectors.

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.

William C. Davis Innovation Fund
Host: Ontario Colleges
Type: Graduate or full-time current student of one of Ontario’s 24 colleges compete for prizes of $5000 - $15000 in the categories of Entrepreneurialism, Health and Welfare, Arts and Culture or Community Benefit. Note: U of T students can only apply via their co-founder who is an eligible college student.

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




33entrepreneurs VC Fund Pitch Competition
Host: 33entrepreneurs
Type: Startups in wine, gastronomy and tourism sectors

Ericsson Innovation Awards
Host: Ericsson
Type: 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
Type: 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
Type: 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
Type: 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
Type: 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.

IBM SmartCamp / A Global Pitch Competition for early stage start-ups
Host: IBM
Type: For startups with an MVP, less than 5 years old and with less than USD$1M in revenue. Competitions held in cities around the world and semi-finalists go to Launch festival in San Francisco.

Next-Gen Supply Chain QuickFire Challenge
Host: Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen Supply Chain
Type:  A prize or a series of prizes to the person or team(s) who submits the best biotech technology or solution to key manufacturing and supply chain challenges that address the issues of higher costs and reliability in supply chains.

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

TechCrunch meetup and pitch off series
Host: TechCrunch
Type: Travelling event seeks tech startup talent in cities around the world, including Canadian stops.