Pitch Competition

Supporting Emerging Entrepreneurs

Applications Now Open

Win $5K for your Startup!  

One of Toronto’s leading pitch competitions is back! The Digital Media and Gaming Incubator at George Brown College is proud to present the 2019 IT’S A START Pitch Competition.

Next April, ten startups will be selected to pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judges at Digifest 2019.  All startups have the opportunity to pitch their business idea, convince the judges of its value, and impress the crowd in 5 minutes for the chance to win cash, space along with an opportunity to attend Beijing’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC).

If you have a smart sustainable future idea, please submit an application. We invite everyone from creative professionals, budding entrepreneurs, new startups, students or recent graduates to submit. Whether your business is a Mobile App, Game, VR/AR Media, Content Property, Product, Digital Design, AI Innovation, or Robotic Innovation, we would love to hear your ground breaking ideas.

New this year – we are intruding a GBC Student Category for GBC Students and Alumni! You can submit your general business idea, it does not have to be a tech related business.

Complete the on-line application.

Applications are now being accepted online – deadline is Friday, January 25, 2019 at 5 PM. There is no fee to enter. Entries will be reviewed by the IT’S A START committee and all semi-finalists will be notified in February 2019.

Qualified semi-finalists will be notified in February 2019.

All IT’S A START semi-finalists will be notified in February and  invited to attend Creative Camp in March. The semi-finalists will meet with advisors, practice their pitches and mingle with other entrepreneurs

Video Pitch

All semi-finalists will be asked to submit their business model canvas and a sixty second video. Videos must be submitted via an unlisted YouTube link which must be submitted by March 22, 2019.

Digifest 2019 Final Pitch Presentations

Ten finalists will then be selected to compete at Digifest 2019. In addition to cash prizes (top prize $5K) and space at the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, the top 2 winners will qualify to attend the Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) and Global Pitch in Beijing next August.

Win $5K for your Startup! Turn your business ideas into reality.

There is no fee to apply for this competition. Digifest is not responsible for individual participant travel expenses to Toronto for any of the activities associated with IT’S A START.

Prizes

First Place

$5K cash

12 months of office space at the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator

Second Place

$3K cash

6 months of office space at the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator

Third Place

$2K cash

6 months of hotdesk space at the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator

Eligibility

Online Application

Project entries or ideas must be the original work of the applicant(s) and the business must be registered 3 years or less.

Applicant(s) who have submitted to IT’S A START pitch competition in the past and have not qualified as a finalist can re-submit a proposal, however, you must be able to demonstrate how the project or idea has changed.

Submissions must be received electronically by the submission deadline.


 

What projects are NOT eligible?

Submissions that have won in previous IT’S A START pitch competitions.

No freelance or self contracted businesses

 

Who can enter?

Start-up companies;
Entrepreneurs;
Students or recent graduates.

Applicants must be based in Canada.

The product, service, technology, game, device or initiative must already be in operation with proven early traction.

 

2019 IT’S A START Schedule

January 25, 2019 at 5 PM | Application Deadline

Submit your application online using the form below. All applications will be reviewed by the IT’S A START committee.

 

February 15, 2019 | Announcement of Semi-Finalists

All applicants will be notified on this date regarding the status of their application.

March 2, 2019 | Creative Camp Program for Semi-Finalists

All IT’S A START semi-finalists will be invited to attend Creative Camp in March. The semi-finalists will meet with advisors, practice their pitches and mingle with other entrepreneurs. All semi-finalists will then be asked to prepare and submit their Business Model Canvas and a 60-second video.

March 22, 2019 | Business Model Canvas and 60 Second Video Deadline

All semi-finalists will be asked to submit their business model canvas and a sixty second video following the Creative Camp.  

April 12, 2019 | Announcement of Finalists

Ten finalists will then be selected and notified to compete at Digifest 2019.

April 26, 2019 | IT’S A START Final Pitch Competition

IT’S A START Pitch Competition will take place in front of a live audience and judges at Digifest 2019. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.
Winning teams will receive cash and join the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, a hub for innovative firms, in downtown Toronto. The grand prize is $5K (equity-free) and space at the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator.  The top 2 winners will qualify to attend the Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) and Global Pitch in Beijing next August. 

August 2019 | Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) and Global Pitch in Beijing (China)

The top 2 winners will qualify to attend the Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) and Global Pitch in Beijing next August.

Apply for IT’S A START 2019 here.

Testimonials

“IT’S A START has done an amazing job assembling a diverse line-up of talent to compete at this year’s pitch competition. As the 2017 IT’S A START second place winner, I was extremely humbled to attend the following Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference in Beijing. I learned many valuable lessons from experienced entrepreneurs overseas, and witness their astronomical rate of growth. This became an enormous motivation factor for us to work significantly harder. I encourage all entrepreneurs to enter next year’s IT’S A START pitch competition. It is an opportunity not to be missed! “ 

Luna Yu

Founder, Genecis EnviroTech, IT'S A START Second Place Winner 2017

“After winning the Digifest 2018 IT’S A START Pitch Competition, we were invited to attend the Overseas Talent and Entrepreneurship Competition (OTEC) in Beijing. OTEC was an incredible opportunity to meet thought leaders from around the world. This was our first experience with the Chinese start-up community, and it was a very encouraging to see how much they believe in supporting the work of both domestic and international entrepreneurs.  We had this incredible journey because we were part of IT’S A START.”

Imran Mouna

Co-founder, InStage, IT'S A START First Place Winner 2018

IT’S A START 2018 HIGHLIGHTS

2018 WINNERS

InStage

InStage is a virtual reality training tool that improves verbal communication skills. We combine virtual reality and data science to simulate the sensation of speaking in front of a live audience and generate metrics relating to your performance.

Phyxable

Phyxable is a self-help video solution that empowers you to fix your own pain and injuries.

CoolCat Innovations

CoolCat Innovations developed Sonacles, an innovative bone conduction hearing aid, in the form of regular glasses, which promises to bring affordability and discreteness to its customers.

Overseas Talent and Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC)

 

The 2018  IT’S A START Pitch Competition winner, InStage, had the opportunity to join the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, on a start-up trip to China.  InStage will be representing Canada at the Overseas Talent and Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) and Global Pitch event in Beijing this August.  This is an exclusive opportunity for start-ups to win the $1M RMB grand prize, fast track their expansion into China and meet with an international network of investors. 

The Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC) is a government-sponsored event in Beijing that aims to connect international entrepreneurs with investment and growth opportunities, and to help them launch their startups in China.  

IT’S A START 2018

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