The Problem Pitch Competition

PITCH A PROBLEM

The Problem Pitch Competition invites teams of up to four students to choose an important industry problem, and thoroughly research it to understand its history, scope, and impact, before pitching the findings to a panel of judges on October 17, to compete for a share of $7,500 in grant funding.*

The winning team will demonstrate the best understanding of an important problem, and will win $5,000 to be used to fund R&D for a venture that solves the problem identified. The 2nd place team will win $2,500, and the audience will decide which team wins the 3rd place People’s Choice Award!

Applications for the Problem Pitch Competition will open September 12 – 26.

Pitches are not to exceed five minutes and must clearly answer the Problem Pitch Questions, with research and sources cited:

INTRODUCE AND SPECIFY THE PROBLEM:

  • Why is the problem important?
  • What are the boundaries of the problem?
  • What exactly is the problem?

Consult media articles, industry research, and people within your own network to help uncover what important problems exist.

DIVE DEEPER – LOOK AT THE PAST AND PRESENT TO UNDERSTAND MISTAKES:

  • What is the context of the exactly defined problem?
  • What is the history of the problem?
  • Who is mistaken about what, and why?

Consult academic research, government sources, industry research, textbooks, and media articles to gain greater insight into your specific problem.

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM’S STAKEHOLDERS:

  • Who exactly is the problem important to?
  • How important is the problem to those affected?
  • How many customers is the problem important to?

You may wish consult market research and media articles to acquire this information about your specific problem.

RESOURCES:

  • More details on these questions can be found here.
  • Example of pitches can be found here.
  • If you have any questions, please e-mail Ben Graham: bwgraham@uwaterloo.ca

Important Dates:

  • Applications Open: Sept. 12
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 26
  • Problem Brief Workshop Support:** 
    • Sept. 27 (1-3pm) or Sept. 29 (10am – 12pm)
  • Problem Brief Research Support:** Oct. 4 (2 – 4pm)
  • Problem Pitch Finalists Notified: Oct. 6
  • Practice Pitching Sessions:
    • Oct. 11 (10am – 12pm) or Oct. 13 (10am – 12pm or 1 – 3pm)
  • Problem Pitch Competition: Oct. 17 (7 – 10pm)

** Optional but strongly recommended.

Problem Pitch Diagram


Eligibility:

This competition is open to teams of 1 to 4 people. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The team member pitching at the Problem Pitch Competition must be a current full-time, or part-time University of Waterloo student (undergraduate or graduate), and is encouraged to attend prep sessions prior to the competition.

*Funding won at the Problem Pitch Competition is to be used for R&D to develop a solution to the problem. It will be administered by reimbursing approved expenses – receipts and documentation must be provided for reimbursement. Competition organizers will determine if an expense is eligible or not. The Problem Pitch Competition is a collaboration between Velocity and the Problem Lab.

APPLY TO THE PROBLEM PITCH COMPETITION

Applications are now open and will close on September 26, 2017 at 11:59pm.