The Up-Start! Competition is a business pitch competition open to participants in the Entrepreneurship 101 lecture series. Individuals, or teams, must give a ten-minute presentation on an idea for a business in the following industry categories:
- Information technology, communications and entertainment (ICE)
- Cleantech, physical sciences and advanced materials
- Life sciences and healthcare
The business must be one that they wish to implement or have already started. Entrants are expected to apply the concepts that they have learned from the course to their business idea and to make a compelling case that this will lead to a very successful business.
A prize of $15,000 will be awarded for the top business pitch presentation.
About the competition
The competition will take place in four stages:
Stage 1: Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops: The Up-Start! Edition (December)
We’re offering a special series of our Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops for interested applicants to the Up-Start! Competition. In this four-part series you’ll have a chance to work on your value proposition, business model and pitch deck with seasoned entrepreneurs and a group of your peers in order to prepare for the Up-Start! application.
The series includes:
- Part 1 – Launching Customer Discovery
- Part 2 – Crafting your Value Proposition
- Part 3 – Designing your Business Model
- Part 4 – Perfecting your Pitch
Workshops will take place on Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., December 18, 2013 and January 8, 15 and 22, 2014. Completion of this stage is not mandatory in order to enter the competition, but it is highly recommended. We have only 30 spaces in the program, so be sure to apply by December 4, 2013!
Register at upstartworkshops-edition2014.eventbrite.com by the application deadline of December 4, 2013.
Stage 2: Competition Entry—Executive Summaries (January)
The course coordinator will arrange an interview for select teams with a MaRS Advisory Services advisor in February. This group will then select the 10 entrants who will go forward in the competition and all entrants will be notified of this decision by March 14th, 2014.
*Need help writing an executive summary? Click here.
Stage 3: Preparation with MaRS Advisors (March and April)
All 10 pitch participants will be assigned a MaRS Advisor to assist them in honing their business pitch and preparing their presentation during the two months before the pitch competition.
Stage 4: Pitch Competition (May)
The competition will take place on May 14th, 2014. The 10 entrants will each give a 10-minute presentation to a panel of three or four judges. This will be followed by five minutes of questions from the judges, then the judges will have a couple minutes to write notes on the companies to provide feedback.
Presentations will be made under cover of a non-disclosure agreement that all audience members will be required to sign. The judges will pick the winners on that day and prizes will be awarded to the top presentations at a reception after the competition.
Criteria for judging
At both the Executive Summary and the pitch competition stages the following criteria will be used to judge proposals:
- Has the summary/presentation clearly articulated the value proposition?
- Has the summary/presentation demonstrated market opportunity?
- Has the summary/presentation demonstrated a sustainable business model that will make money, or, in the case of a venture with a social purpose, make money and have the desired social impact?
- Has the summary/presentation demonstrated competitive differentiation/intellectual capital?
- How effective was the overall presentation?
- Would you invest or back this opportunity?
Judges will give feedback sheets to all contestants at the end of the competition.
Contestant eligibility and rules
- The individual presenting (or the designated head of the team) must be enrolled in Entrepreneurship 101 and have attended at least 20 out of 30 lectures of Entrepreneurship 101 in person and/or by webcast and show a course certificate.
- Entrants’ businesses must fall into one of three categories: ICE, cleantech, or life sciences and healthcare.
- Entrants must have received no more than $100,000 investment money as of January 31st, 2014.
- Entrants must have earned no more than $100,000 in cumulative revenue since their inception.
- Entrants must be able to present their pitch in person to the judges to qualify for the competition.
To see the full set of competition rules click here.
How to enter
As noted above, send a three-page executive summary to email@example.com by Friday, January 31st, 2014.
2014 Up-Start! Competition Award powered by
In-kind sponsorship provided by:
|2013||TrendyMED||Read the blog post featuring an interview with Ronny Barrelli, CEO, TrendyMED: MobileIV wins $10,000 Up-Start! Competition prize.|
|2012||LIFEbike||Read the blog post by Henry Chong, CEO, Revelo Bikes Inc.: LIFEbike: A winner’s perspective|
|2011||The Hot Plate||Read the blog post by Amanda Garbutt, Owner and Co-founder, The Hot Plate: A winner’s take on the Up-Start! Competition|
|2010||Shape Collage||Read the blog post about winner Vincent Cheung: Student entrepreneurship at its best|
|2009||UiRemote/DreamCube||Read the blog post from one of the winning team, John Zhou: “Reflections of an up-start” and the follow-up story, “Up-start competitors: The continuing saga“|
|2008||SWIFTPlate||See the photo and story about Vanessa James|
|2006||Mobile Laboratory Services||Read the press release: “MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 for Researchers: Up-Start Competition winner announced“|