2019 RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Do you have a great idea for a company or are you already working in an innovative startup?

The 2019 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 startups. Part of U of T Entrepreneurship Week True Blue Expo, the competition takes place Thursday, March 21 at MaRS. 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

1st Prize: $25,000

2nd Prize: $10,000

Who is eligible to compete?

  • University of Toronto entrepreneurship community: The idea or startup came from research at U of T, and/or at least one founder is a current U of T student, post doc or a recent alum (i.e. graduated no earlier than July 2017).
  • Open to all faculties and sectors.
  • *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 January 1, 2019.
  • **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 January 1, 2019.
  • Entrants must be able to present their pitch in person to the panelists on March 21, 2019.

How can I apply?

  1. Competition entry in January: Please email the completed Application Form and three-page Executive Summary about your idea or startup to entrepreneurs@utoronto.ca before 5:00pm on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Applications received after this time will not be considered.
  2. Competition preparation with an advisor in early March: The 10 applicants selected to compete will be notified in early March and encouraged to work with an advisor from one of our accelerators or incubators (uoft.me/incubate) to help them prepare and perfect their pitch.
  3. Competition day on March 21, 2019: The competition will take place from 2:30-6:00pm on Thursday, March 21 at MaRS, 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 seven-minute Q and A from the panel. The winners will be announced at 5:30pm followed by a reception. Click here to see the 2019 finalists.

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:

  • Opportunity: A clearly articulated and compelling value proposition
  • Viability: Demonstrated market opportunity and knowledge
  • 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 2019 RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or application process can be sent to entrepreneurs@utoronto.ca.

The 2020 RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship competition will open in December 2019.