The University of Waterloo will host the Velocity Fund Finals this week which provides the opportunity for student entrepreneurs and alumni to pitch their innovative ideas for the chance to win some cash.
Mike Kirkup with Velocity tells us ten companies will compete for four prizes of $25,000, and another 10 startups will compete for one of three awards of $5,000.
“We have two competitions– one that is focused on the idea stage, and one that focuses on more of an established company stage. The $5K is at 11 am and the $25K starts at 1 pm. We actually run this three times a year– we run it in March, July and November and each time we hand out $125,000 in funding.”
Kirkup says some big names in business will be coming out to the University to judge the event.
“We have essentially two classes of judges– for the $5K competition we have great entrepreneurs from the community like Steve McCartney from Communitech. For the $25K, we bring in venture capitalists primarily from outside of the community and their focus is really on where would they write a $25,000 paycheck to if it was their own money and what they are looking for, so we have several coming in from Toronto to share their insight and experiences.”
Kirkup says this is a great opportunity for any UW students or alumni interested in growing their business.
“What makes this such an awesome opportunity for those involved is that they get feedback on how to pitch, they get the opportunity to learn what makes a really great business stand-out and shine in front of judges and great people in the community– but most importantly, they get real cash to start their company and that’s so important when you’re trying to get a business off the ground.”
Kirkup says anyone can go check out the local talent at the event, as it is open to the public– the $5K competition starts at 11 am and the $25K competition starts at 1 pm at UW’s Student Life Centre on Thursday, March 31st.
Kirkup says it’s always exciting to see what ideas are presented, as these competitions have led to some great local companies.
“One of the most important things about the event is that some of our best companies have come through this program and this process, and it’s just a really great way to see what some of the exciting inventions, tech and opportunities are that are being created by students at the University of Waterloo.”