Bootcamp and
Cup Competition

Duration: 10 weeks | Stage: Validation

Bootcamp and Cup

Growing the Entrepreneurial Mindset

This program, powered by National Bank, is designed to support early-stage startups that are iterating their MVP/prototype and moving towards launching their venture with early users and/or customers.

Throughout the 10-week program, you will attend weekly workshops and coaching sessions delivered by industry leaders, conduct self-directed work, and learn about:

  • Value creation
  • Market penetration
  • Financial models
  • Storytelling
  • The art of pitching


The Bootcamp culminates in the Dobson Cup Competition where teams pitch their startups for a chance to win pre-seed funding.


“The program surpassed our expectations in many regards, the opportunity to gain feedback from the judges and program coordinators along the way was one notable takeaway for us. We believe that the MDC program has better prepared us for our upcoming investor pitches.”

Kyle Feigenbaum

Cofounder, HealthybudKyle


Program Overview

Duration: 10 weeks | Stage: Validation

Program Dates: January 25 - March 28, 2023

Key Learning Themes

  • Creating and delivering an effective pitch presentation
  • Conducting market research
  • Crafting your marketing strategy
  • Establishing and tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Understanding business structures and steps of incorporation
  • Designing your roadmap for the future


1. Bootcamp

  • Weekly interactive workshops delivered by seasoned entrepreneurs and business experts introduce strategic frameworks and tools that guide the process of shaping and developing startups. Workshops generally last one hour, with extra time reserved for group discussions and learning activities.
  • Clinics are hands-on, one-on-one meetings with coaches to support startups on specific areas of their business plan. Clinics are available by appointment.
  • Banking Information is offered by the National Bank to explore the specifics of banking for startups.

2. Dobson Cup

This competition comprises two rounds, the semi-finals and the finals followed by the Awards Ceremony. Prizes are awarded across four tracks:

  • Health Sciences Enterprise ​
  • Technology Driven Enterprise
  • Social Impact Enterprise
  • Environmental Enterprise


Program Dates: January 25 - March 22, 2023

Timing: Wednesdays from 6-8pm (no class on March 1st)

Week Learning Themes


  • Keynote Speaker
  • Program Introduction and overview

Creating and delivering an effective pitch presentation

  • What to include in your pitch
  • Pitch structure
  • Tips for creating a cohesive and clear presentation

Storytelling and Audience Engagement

  • Enhancing your pitch and capturing the audience’s attention with an engaging narrative

National Bank info session


Market Research

  • Performing your competitive analysis
  • Best practices and useful resources for your market research

Market Positioning for Startups

  • Crafting a marketing strategy that aligns with your value proposition and brand promise

Finance for Startups: KPIs and Revenue Models

  • Identifying your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Developing a sound revenue model

Legal – Business Structures

  • Defining the business structure that suits your startup Understanding how to incorporate


Cup Competition


  • February 9 & 10, 2023 -  Semi-Finals
  • March 28, 2023 - Finals
  • March 28, 2023 - Award Ceremony

Participating startups will deliver a 5-minute pitch followed by a 10-minute Q&A to an external panel of judges. The competition will take place across four tracks:

Health Sciences Enterprise Track (HSE)

Open to startups innovating solutions in the fields of biomedical/ biochemical engineering, advanced therapeutics, medical/ surgical devices and software, computational health, health monitoring, health & wellness, and more, to improve health, quality of life, patient centered healthcare, prevent and cure diseases, and understand how humans and animals function.

Technology Driven Enterprise Track (TDE)

Open to startups developing global solutions upon a new technology in the fields of computer science, robotics, mechanical engineering, manufacturing, construction, communications, education, business, financial and information technology as well as a variety of multidisciplinary fields that are working to significantly or radically disrupt their industry sector.

Social Impact Enterprise Track (SIE)

Open to non-profit or for-profit startups that apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and social well-being, such as trading cooperatives, credit unions, community organizations, NGOs or other multidisciplinary fields that are working to achieve social, cultural and/or community economic outcomes as their mission.

Environmental Enterprise Track (EE)

Open to startups developing innovative solutions to address one or several major global environmental challenges in the fields of nature conservation, agricultural science, renewable energy, transportation, waste management, food production, consumer goods, retail and packaging or other multidisciplinary fields that are working to reduce negative impact or increase positive effects on the environment.


Prizes to be Won

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

Amount: $17,000

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. Students apply through the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship. 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 McGill Dobson Cup Start-UP 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

Program Applications

Ideal Participant Profile

  • Your team has at least one McGill affiliated co-founder e.g., student, faculty, staff or alumni.
  • You are working working on a prototype or/and have a functional business, developing a business plan, and preparing to launch your startup.
  • Your team has at least one technical co-founder, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.
  • Your team is composed of multi-disciplinary professionals (including learners or graduates).
  • You can commit to attending all the workshops and executing the project work (required to maintain your participation in the program)

How to Apply

  1. Read the online guidelines to confirm eligibility and understand the major steps.​
  2. Choose which of the four tracks of the Dobson Cup competition you want to enter.
  3. Write your five-page startup plan using the fillable Microsoft Word template and convert it into a pdf document. Plans that do not use the template will not be accepted.
  4. Make a short video of your team presenting your startup (2mins max, save as “unlisted” on YouTube or Vimeo)
  5. Fill-in the online application form, attach your pdf startup plan and add the link to your video.

Next cohort: January 25 - March 28, 2023


Register here to be notified when the program applications open.


Next Steps

Following completion of the Dobson Bootcamp and Cup Competition, participants are encouraged to apply to the X-1 Accelerator and Mentorship Circle.

Have questions about the program? Email us at dobson.mgmt [at] for more information

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