The McGill Dobson Cup

What is The McGill Dobson Cup?

The McGill Dobson Cup powered by National Bank and hosted by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, is McGill’s flagship annual startup competition. McGill startups across 4 tracks — Innovation Driven Enterprise, Small & Medium Enterprise, Social Enterprise, and Health Sciences — will have the opportunity to compete for over $100,000 in cash prizes, awarded as seed funding to the most promising companies.

Applications are no longer being accepted for the McGill Dobson Cup 2017.  

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How do I win?

Judging will focus on innovation, viability, and growth potential - as presented by the teams. Read our full submission guidelines and evaluation criteria here.

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 2012.

Key Dates

Submission Dates

  • December 18, 2016 - January 18, 2017 – Registration and five page start-up plan due

Semi-Final Pitches

  • February 14, 2017 - Qualifying Health Science track teams pitch to judges
  • February 15, 2017 – Qualifying Social Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 16, 2017 – Qualifying Small & Medium Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 17, 2017 – Qualifying Innovation Driven Enterprise teams pitch to judges

Final Pitches

  • March 22, 2017 – All tracks pitch to judges
  • March 30, 2017 - 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 $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

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

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

L’Oréal-Dobson Startup Award

L’Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 105 years. With its unique international portfolio of 32 diverse and complementary brands, L’Oreal is the world’s leading beauty company. Research and innovation is at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world. L’Oréal’s new sustainability commitment for 2020: Sharing Beauty With All, sets out ambitious sustainable development objectives across the Group’s value chain.

Because innovation can come from anywhere, the L’Oréal-Dobson Startup Award was created in 2017 with the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship to reward innovative ideas. Beyond proposals focused on cosmetics, L’Oréal will recompense original concepts in the areas of green chemistry, material and health sciences to support future hair and skin applications.

Amount: $12,000 which can be given to one team or split between two or more deserving teams

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