Growing the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Stage: Validation
Industry: Industry-agnostic

Dobson Bootcamp
& Cup Competition

The program, powered by National Bank, is designed to support startups that are iterating their MVP/prototype and moving towards launching their venture. Through weekly workshops and personalized mentorship, participants will establish the foundations of a strong product/market fit and go-to-market strategy. Culminating in the Dobson Cup Competition, teams will pitch their startups across four streams: health sciences, technology, environment, and social impact.

Key learnings

  • Creating and articulating the value of your market offering
  • Crafting your marketing strategy for customer/user acquisition
  • Crafting a financial model for establishing a sustainable startup
  • Understanding business structures and steps of incorporation
  • Creating and delivering an effective pitch presentation


Program format

  • Bootcamp: January 23 – March 19, 2024
    • Time: Tuesdays, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Cup Competition
    • Semi-finals: Feb 28-Mar 1, 2024
    • Finals and awards ceremony: May 1, 2024

Hybrid program: sessions will be virtual and in-person at the Dobson Centre to accommodate our global network of speakers and mentors. 


Who is this program for?

We welcome teams with:

  • at least one McGill affiliated co-founder e.g., student, faculty, staff or alumni (graduated within the last 10 years).
  • multi-disciplinary professionals (including learners or graduates) working on a prototype or/and have a functional business, iterating a business plan, preparing to launch/incorporate your startup.
  • one technical co-founder, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.
  • commitment to attend all the workshops and executing the project work (required to maintain your participation in the program).

Awards & Prizes

National Bank Awards

The McGill Dobson Cup Competition Powered by National Bank is an experiential learning opportunity that offers a once in a lifetime networking experience with world-class entrepreneurs and mentors. More than just a pitch session, finalists across all tracks are competing for just over $200,000 in funding.

Powered by National Bank, $160,000 in prizes distributed across all four tracks:

  • 1st Place - Four (4) prizes of $20,000
  • 2nd Place -Four (4) prizes of $12,000
  • 3rd Place - Four (4) prizes of $8,000

Mastercard Foundation-Dobson Startup Award

Established under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at McGill University the MCF-Dobson Startup Awards supports ventures competing in the McGill Dobson Cup Competition. The awards will be offered to viable, sustainable, and scalable ventures and community projects that create economic opportunities for others. Valued at a total of $17,000, this award will be given to two deserving teams competing in this year’s startup competition, who demonstrate innovative ideas in the areas of entrepreneurship. The award will be divided as follows:

  • 1st Place MCF-Dobson - $10,000
  • 2nd Place MCF-Dobson - $7,000

Murdoch Family Initiative Award

Established by Neil Murdoch (BCom‘81) and Gisele Murdoch to help support undergraduate students in the Desautels Faculty of Management to take the initiative to gain practical experience during their studies and to encourage students to be creative and entrepreneurial. The award will be for a student, in good academic standing, who has demonstrated entrepreneurial talent and initiative and is involved in an entrepreneurial venture. Preference for the award will be given to students entering U2 or U3. Students will apply for the award by submitting business plans to the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship. The award will be given to the student whose plan is judged worthy of support as determined by the Director of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship. It is understood that the process and method for selection is currently the McGill Dobson Cup Competition, which already has a committee of independent judges.

Amount: $5,000

The Steven Pal Family Award

Established in 2020 by Steven Pal, BSc 1979, MBA 1981, to encourage students enrolled in the Desautels Faculty of Management’s Dobson Cup Competition to be creative and entrepreneurial. The Award will be for an undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated entrepreneurial talent and initiative, and is involved in an entrepreneurial venture. Students apply through the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Amount: $5,000

The McGill Engine Prize

The McGill Engine Prize supports a technologically based venture competing in the final round of the McGill Dobson Cup competition. To be eligible for the McGill Engine Prize in the McGill Dobson Cup, at least one team member must be a current full-time student or professor in McGill’s Faculty of Engineering and the venture must be technologically based. Teams competing for this prize must pitch to the McGill Engine team. The prize is only awarded if more than one team makes the final round and they rate above adequate in their final pitch and venture evaluation by the McGill Engine team.

Amount: $2,500

Avmor Prize for Social Responsibility

Established in 2003 through the generosity of Mr. Avrum Morrow for an outstanding undergraduate student, or group of students, who focus(es) their efforts on social responsibility. Awarded to (a) winning team(s), composed of students, of the Dobson Cup Competition or similar McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship initiatives. Awarded by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

Amount: $1,900

AquaAction Dobson Freshwater Innovation Award

The AquaAction Freshwater Innovation Award supports ventures competing in the McGill Dobson Cup Competition. This award recognizes and supports the most innovative startups developing groundbreaking technologies for the preservation and enhancement of freshwater resources in water-strained economies. Valued at $10,000, two winning teams, receiving $5,000 each, will have demonstrated exceptional innovation in creating technologies with the potential to significantly improve the management of freshwater in an economic setting. Alongside the financial prize, awardees will benefit from expert mentorship and access to a network of investors passionate about supporting advancements in environmental sustainability.

Amount: two awards of $5,000

Have questions about the program?

Email us at dobson.mgmt [at] for more information.


Back to top