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One of the City’s leading entrepreneur competitions is back! The Digital Media and Gaming Incubator is proud to launch the fifth IT’S A START Pitch Competition at Digifest 2017. Is your business ready to soar? Are you the entrepreneur who will rise to the top? You have 5 minutes to convince us … ready, set, go!


Thank you for your submissions! Applications are now closed. The IT’S A START Pitch Competition finalists will present at Digifest 2017 on Friday, April 28th.



IT’S A START is an exciting and interactive pitch competition taking place at Digifest 2017. Pitch your business, convince the judges of its value, and wow the crowd in 5 minutes, and you will have the chance to meet with investors, win thousands in cash, incubation space, and mentorship.


We provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunity to:

Compete against innovative entrepreneurs from across the GTA

Refine your business plan and receive coaching during Creative Camp weekend

Pitch your business proposal to a panel of esteemed judges

Earn prizes including cash, office space at George Brown College’s Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, mentorship and more!

We are looking for the most innovative ideas from creative professionals, budding entrepreneurs, new startups, students or recent graduates who have special projects that they want to take to the next level. There is no fee to apply for this competition.









Complete the online application. Deadline for Applications is Friday, January 27, 2017 at 5 p.m. 


Qualified semi-finalists will be notified in February 2017. 



Digifest 2017 Final Pitch Presentations



All entries will be reviewed by our committee and the semi-finalists will be notified in February 2017.

All semi-finalists will be invited to attend Creative Camp Weekend taking place on March 4, 2017 at George Brown College.  This is a networking event with other entrepreneurs and mentors as well as a chance to finesse your pitch presentations. Qualified semi-finalists will then be asked to submit their business model canvas along with a 60 second video presentation of their business idea by March 24, 2017   (Your entrepreneurial story, product/service description, target market and value proposition).

All finalists will have five minutes to pitch their business before a panel of judges and a live audience at Digifest which will be held April 27-29, 2017 at Corus Quay. 


Creative Camp is presented by George Brown College and is supported by the Royal Bank of Canada, StartGBC and MaRS.

All the second round IT’S A START applicants are invited to attend Creative Camp on March 4 to meet with advisors and other entrepreneurs and to prepare for the final IT’S A START Pitch Competition on April 28.

Join us as we kick the day off with a special presentation by Omar Gandhi!

Omar is a Canadian architect raised in Brampton, Ontario, currently practicing and residing in both Toronto and Halifax, Nova Scotia. His work has not gone unnoticed. Recognized as one of the world’s top 20 young architects by Wallpaper* Magazine, one of Canada’s 20 most influential people by Monocle Magazine, and as one of 2016’s ‘Emerging Voices’ by The Architectural League of New York, the sessional instructor at his Alma Mater, Dalhousie University, is most definitely leaving his mark on the architecture community.


Final Presentation Pitch Competition Rules


Only one individual from the team can deliver the pitch at Digifest 2017. They will have five minutes to present their business proposal. Each contestant will have two minutes to respond to judges’ Q & A, directly following their pitch. PowerPoint/PDF presentations are recommended for this presentation.

What are the prizes?


Prizes include up to $10,000 total in cash, working space in the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator at George Brown College, mentorship, Digifest 2017 festival passes and more.

Competition criteria

We’re looking for creative, cutting-edge projects driven by conscientious and dedicated individuals. Do you have an original idea that can improve the way we live, work and play? Have you developed an application or technology that will address everyday problems or social needs? Does your project connect people and networks, ultimately enabling us to live better lives?

Categories include mobile apps, wearables, social innovation, gaming, interactive or other digital design initiatives.

Eligibility requirements

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.

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
Students or recent graduates

NB: George Brown College students/graduates/faculty are eligible to participate in the competition, however, you must disclose this information in your application.

Who is on the IT'S A START panel of judges?

The panel consists of esteemed experts from industry, academia and finance.

What are the selection criteria?

The jurors will be looking for candidates to showcase their great business ideas, their business expertise as well as their passion to succeed.

The jurors will use the following criteria to determine the finalists for the competition:


Has this idea been presented this way before? How does your idea compare to existing projects/ideas that address similar issues?


Is there a demand for your idea? Why would someone buy it?

Market Readiness

How much more development is needed?

User Friendly

How easy is it to use?

Creativity & Design

How is the project executed? Is the overall design clear and effective?


How realistic is your plan to execute this project? Does your budget take into consideration the logistics, production, technical requirements and other expenditures?

Probability of Success

With the right investment and support, could this idea become a successful business?

Clarity of Presentation

Is your presentation clear and concise? Does your use of audio/visual support material add to your story?



The first IT’S A START Pitch Competition was held in Monza, Italy organized by Regione Lombardia, Provincia Monza Brianza and Camera di Commercio di Monza in June 2012. The first Canadian IT’S A START pitch competition premiered at Digifest 2012 on October 20, and the most recent competition took place at Digifest 2016 on April 29.