McGill Dobson Cup

McGill Dobson Cup

Applications are now open for McGill Dobson Cup 2018!

The McGill Dobson Cup

What is The McGill Dobson Cup?

The McGill Dobson Cup (MDC) powered by National Bank and hosted by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, is McGill’s flagship annual startup competition.

  • 5-page business plan included in the application process
  • Average of 140 applications received from ALL faculties at McGill every year
  • Can attend entrepreneurship events and workshops organized by Dobson Centre in the Fall and Winter semesters
  • Semi-Finals round of pitches to judge-mentors
  • Work with Semi-Finals judge-mentors to prepare for Finals
  • Pitches to Finals judge-mentors where over $100,000 in seed funding is awarded to the most promising McGill startups across 4 Tracks: Innovation Driven Enterprise, Small & Medium Enterprise, Social Enterprise, and Health Sciences

Applications now open


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The Dobson Chronicles for news on the McGill Dobson Cup. 


How do I win?

Judging will focus on innovation, viability, and growth potential - as presented by the teams. 


Who can compete?

At least one founder of the company must have a McGill affiliation, meaning enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, hold (or have held) a staff, faculty or postdoctoral position, or McGill alumni. If the sole McGill affiliation on a team is a McGill alumni, they must have graduated no later than January 2013.


Key Dates

Submission Dates

  • December 4, 2017 - January 17, 2018 – Registration and five page startup plan due

Semi-Final Pitches

  • February 20, 2018 - Qualifying Health Science track teams pitch to judges
  • February 21, 2018 – Qualifying Social Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 22, 2018 – Qualifying Small & Medium Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 23, 2018 – Qualifying Innovation Driven Enterprise teams pitch to judges

Final Pitches

  • March 28, 2018 – All tracks pitch to judges
  • April 5, 2018 - MDC Awards Ceremony

Prizes to be Won

Teams who are considered as having the most innovative and viable concepts, and that show distinct growth potential, are awarded over $100,000 in prizes. The competition embodies experiential learning at its best and provides students with invaluable feedback, mentorship and networking opportunities.

While prize money is great, no matter what the outcome, you will benefit from helpful recommendations to help grow and advance your business ideas. In addition, you will meet other like-minded entrepreneurs at McGill and develop your personal and professional skills.

Grit Prize 2018

Established in 2014 by Samer Bekai‐Saab, BEng 1993, MBA 1996, to encourage students to pursue entrepreneurial interests. Awarded to (a) team(s) composed of students who have participated in the final round of the McGill Dobson Cup Start‐Up Competition or similar Dobson Centre competition with a preference to a team of students who have demonstrated outstanding dedication towards establishing their business venture. Awarded by the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.

Amount: $5,000 which can be given to one team or split between two or more deserving teams


Food and Agribusiness Convergent Innovation Prize 2018

Convergent Innovation fosters behavior change and societal transformation by instilling social and environmental objectives of agriculture, food product development, nutrition, and health into business models, while improving economic viability of efforts focused on social benefit. Established in 2016 under a partnership between the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES) and the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), the Food and Agribusiness Convergent Innovation Prize is offered to support a venture, in the areas of agriculture, food and agribusiness, that clearly intertwines technological innovation, social innovation, and institutional innovation to simultaneously derive measurable economic and social health benefit(s). The prize may be awarded to a team participating in the McGill Dobson Cup Start‐Up Competition.

Amount: $5,000


Tocqueville Challenge 2018

Established by Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville in 2013, the Tocqueville Challenge reflects the mission of the Tocqueville Foundation to foster community engagement while strengthening youth service, building capacity in citizen society organizations, and promoting entrepreneurial social innovation.  Encouraging partnerships and multi-stakeholder alliances, the objectives of the Tocqueville Challenge are to harness the desire for purposeful engagement of the millennial generation and to inspire a passion to explore innovative solutions to help resolve social problems left unaddressed by the public and private sectors. The Tocqueville Foundation invites student teams to Paris each May to present their innovative solutions for resolving today's social problems following the principles of "civil society" as promoted by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Amount: Travel expenses ($8,850) from Montreal to Paris for the team representing McGill University to compete in the Tocqueville Challenge in mid-May 2018.


The McGill EngInE Prize 2018

Established in 2017 in the Faculty of Engineering, the McGill EngInE Prize is offered by the McGill Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship hub (the McGill EngInE) to support a venture competing in the final round in the Innovation-Driven Enterprise track of the McGill Dobson Cup competition.

Amount: $5,000