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.

This 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).

 

The Process

Applications are now closed. Entries will be reviewed by the IT’S A START committee and all 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. Digifest is not responsible for individual participant travel expenses to Toronto for any of the activities associated with IT’S A START.

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On March 2nd, all the IT’S A START semi-finalists were invited to attend Creative Camp where they had the chance to meet with advisors, guest presenters including Sima Gandhi (Riince), Nyima Gyalmo (Social Sherpa) and Chris Giantsopoulos (MaRS) as well as other entrepreneurs. The ten finalists will be announced on April 5th and will go on to compete at the final pitch competition on April 25th at Corus Quay.

Meet this year’s IT’S A START semi-finalits.  

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FIRST PLACE

$5K in cash

In-kind legal services ($3K in value)
provided by 

12 months of private office usage

Opportunity to participate on the startup trip to Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference in Beijing

SECOND PLACE

$3K in cash

6 months of private office usage

Opportunity to participate on the startup trip to Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference in Beijing 

  Small Business License (1 year) plus Deal Negotiation Workshops

THIRD PLACE

$2K cash

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

  Small Business License (1 year) plus Deal Negotiation Workshops

Honorable Mention: Best Creative Startup

1 Full Access, One Year Membership to the Artscape Daniels Launchpad
 

People’s Choice: Best Tech Startup

$1K cash

Office Space at ICUBE, University of Toronto Mississauga
 
 

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2019/01/25
Application Deadline

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

2019/02/15
Announcement of Semi-Finalists

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

2019/03/02
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.

2019/03/22
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.

2019/04/12
Announcement of Finalists

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

2019/04/25
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.

2019/08/01
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 in August.

“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
IT’S A START 2nd Place Winner 2017, Founder, Genecis EnviroTech

“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 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
IT’S A START 1st Place Winner 2018, Co-founder, InStage

InStage
1st Place 2018

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.

 

 

 

CoolCat Innovations
2nd Place 2018

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.

 

Phyxable
3rd Place 2018

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

 

 

 

Communihelp
People’s Choice 2018

Communihelp is a volunteer matching platform that uses an algorithm to match professionals seeking skills-based volunteer opportunities with social good organizations looking to maximize their social impact.

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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.