The Problem Pitch Competition


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 March 7, to compete for a share of $5,000 in grant funding.*

The winning team will demonstrate the best understanding of an important problem, and will win $4,000 to be used to fund R&D for a venture that solves the problem identified. The 2nd place team will win $1,000, and the audience will decide which team wins the 3rd place People’s Choice Award!

Applications are now closed. 

Applications received are conditional upon team participation in an introductory session following the application, on one of the days noted below in the Important Dates section. Pitches are to not exceed five minutes in length, and must clearly answer these questions, with research and sources cited:


  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What is the context of the exactly defined problem?
  • What are the boundaries of the problem?
  • What is the history of the problem?


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


  • Who is mistaken about what, and why?
  • Who exactly is the problem important to?


  • More details on these questions can be found here.
  • Example of pitches can be found here.
  • If you have any questions, please e-mail Crista Renner:

Important Dates:

Applications open: January 30, first-come, first-serve
Introductory sessions to help understand and analyze problems (Required): February 15, 17 or 22
Practice pitching session (Encouraged): March 2
Pitch deck submission deadline: March 5
Problem Pitch Competition: March 7


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 must attend a scheduled prep session 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.


Applications for the Problem Pitch competition are now closed.