Are you a startup founder or do you have a great idea you want to turn into a business?

The 2021 RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is an annual business pitch competition offering $50,000+ in prizes to recognize, reward, and accelerate the University of Toronto’s most innovative student startups. Part of U of T Entrepreneurship Week True Blue Expo, the competition will take place Thursday, March 11, 2021. Selected individuals or teams will compete by showcasing their business idea via a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges for the following prizes:

Early Stage Prizes* Later Stage Prizes**
1st Prize: $10,000

 

2nd Prize: $5,000

Dongjun Wang Family True Blue Prize (People’s Choice): $4,000

1st Prize: $25,000

 

2nd Prize: $10,000

Dongjun Wang Family True Blue Prize (People’s Choice): $4,000

Who is eligible to compete?

  • University of Toronto entrepreneurship community: At least one founder is a current full-time U of T student or recent alumni from a full-time program (i.e. graduated no earlier than July 2019).
  • Open to all faculties and sectors across the tri-campus.
  • *Early Stage Prize: Startups must have less than $20,000 cumulative funding or investment (not including research grants), and less than $20,000 cumulative revenue as of November 6, 2020.
  • **Later Stage Prize: Startups must have between $20,000 and $100,000 cumulative funding or investment (not including research grants), and less than $100,000 in cumulative revenue as of November 6, 2020.
  • Entrants must be able to present their pitch to the panelists on March 11, 2021; if social distancing or other restrictions are in place, this event could be virtual.
  • Startups are only eligible to pitch one time in the RBC Prize.
  • Companies who are not yet incorporated may apply, however incorporation is required in order to receive the prize money.

Competition Timeline

  1. Competition entry in September/October: Please email the completed Application Form and three-page Executive Summary to entrepreneurs@utoronto.ca before 5:00pm on Friday, November 6, 2020. Applications received after this time will not be considered.
  2. Competition preparation with an advisor in January: The 10 applicants selected to compete will be notified in January and encouraged to work with an advisor from one of our entrepreneurship programs (me/incubate) to help them prepare and perfect their pitch. Please note that UTE may reassess Early Stage startups in January 2021 and reserves the right to reclassify to Later Stage category.
  3. Competition day on March 11, 2021: The competition will take place on Thursday, March 11, with five startups competing for the Early Stage Prize and five for the Later Stage Prize. Each startup will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors followed by a five-minute Q and A from the panel. If social distancing or other restrictions are in place, this event could be virtual.

What is the criteria for judging?

At both the entry and competition day stages, the panel of judges will be looking for the startup’s:

  • Problem Identification / Opportunity: A clearly articulated and compelling value proposition
  • Viability: Clear knowledge of the market and evidence of demand for the solution
  • Growth potential: Sustainable and scalable business model
  • Innovation: Intellectual property and/or strong competitive differentiation
  • Talent: A strong team
  • Communication skills: An effective and persuasive overall Executive Summary and pitch presentation

Apply now for your chance to win prize money to take your startup to the next level!

Questions about the 2021 RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or application process can be sent to entrepreneurs@utoronto.ca.