UTE Startup Prize

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

The University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Startup Prize is an annual business pitch competition offering $50,000+ in prizes to recognize, reward, and accelerate the University of Toronto’s most innovative startups. As part of U of T Entrepreneurship Week, the competition will take place the week of March 7-11, 2022. 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*

1st Prize: $10,000

2nd Prize: $5,000

Later-Stage Prizes**

1st Prize: $25,000

2nd Prize: $10,000

Lo Family Social Venture Fund***

Impact Award: $10,000

Dongjun Wang Family True Blue Prize

People’s Choice: $3,000

  • University of Toronto Entrepreneurship (UTE) community: At least one founder is a current full-time U of T student, post doc or a recent alum from a full-time program (i.e. graduated no earlier than July 2020).
  • Affiliation with a U of T Accelerator is strongly encouraged.
  • Open to all faculties and sectors.
  • *Early Stage Prize: Startups must have received less than $50,000 in cumulative funding or investment, and less than $25,000 cumulative revenue as of November 12, 2021.
  • **Later Stage Prize: Startups must have received between $50,000 and $200,000 cumulative funding or investment, and less than $100,000 in cumulative revenue as of November 12, 2021.
  • Entrants must be able to present their pitch to the panelists in-person the week of March 7-11, 2022; if social distancing or other restrictions are in place, this event could be virtual.
  • Startups are only eligible to pitch once per category in the Prize.
  • Companies who are not yet incorporated may apply, however incorporation is required in order to receive the prize money.
  • Primary applicant must complete U of T’s IP Education Level 1 course by November 12, 2021. For applicants who already have a strong foundation in their IP knowledge, completion of Level 1 can be replaced by completion of a Level 2 Topic. If you already have extensive knowledge or experience with IP matters and wish to take Level 2 without taking Level 1, please request a waiver of the Level 1 pre-requisite on the Level 2 Registration Forms by typing “UTE Startup Prize Application Waiver” in the field that asks “What date did you complete Level 1?”
  1. Competition entry in October/November: Please submit your application form before 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2021. 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 accelerators to help them prepare. Please note that UTE may reassess Early Stage startups in January 2022 and reserves the right to reclassify to Later Stage category based on the eligibility criteria.
  3. Competition day the week of March 7-11, 2022: The competition will take place the week of March 7-11 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.

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: Unique solution, differentiated vs. competitors, including intellectual property considerations
  • Talent: A strong team
  • Communication skills: An effective and persuasive overall Executive Summary and pitch presentation
  • Strategy & Financial Plan: How you plan to use the prize money

Additional areas of evaluation specific to the Lo Family Social Venture Fund – Impact Award are as follows:

  • Problem identification: Is the venture addressing a well-documented and significant social or societal challenge?  Are they clearly able to highlight the need or demand for their solution as a response to this challenge? Is the proposed social venture design and methodology well thought out and achievable?
  • Impact, Future Plans, and Knowledge Translation: If this project is successful, what might the quantifiable impact or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) be? Is the team committed to continuing with this project after the competition, regardless of whether they win this award?  Does the solution look at the societal challenge on a global scale, especially with regard to communities in Asia (an asset but not required)?

Applications to the 2022 UTE Startup Prize are now closed. To check the status of your application, log in to your UTE Community Portal account here.