McGill Dobson Cup

Applications are now open for McGill’s flagship annual startup competition - the 2019 McGill Dobson Cup. Deadline is January 16, 2019.

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 startup competition that enables emerging McGill entrepreneurs to compete for over $150,000 in prize money.

There are 4 Tracks in the McGill Dobson Cup: Innovation Driven Enterprise, Small & Medium Enterprise, Social Enterprise, and Health Sciences

McGill Dobson Cup teams will also benefit from the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of world-class entrepreneurs and judges who will offer guidance on how to move their ideas forward.

The McGill Dobson Cup begins with the submission of two documents:

  • An application form and a 5-page startup plan (due by January 16, 2019)

  • Rounds of pitching and judging in the Semi-Finals (February 19-22, 2019) and Finals (March 27, 2019).

Winners of the McGill Dobson Cup will be announced on April 4, 2019 at the Awards Ceremony.

Applications now open

  • Deadline: 11:59 PM EST Wednesday, January 16, 2019
  • Read guidelines: PDF icon 2019_dobson_cup_guidelines-final.pdf
  • Note: Your team does NOT need to be a registered company to enter to compete in the McGill Dobson Cup. However, IF your team ends up making it to the FINALS on March 27, 2019 AND win prize money, only then will you have to register your company. Prize money will only be paid to registered companies with bank accounts in Canadian funds with no exceptions. If your company is not registered please visit for help.


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, graduate program or post-graduate certificate 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 2009.

Other FAQs and Resources

Other FAQs as well as resources to help you compete in the McGill Dobson Cup 2019 powered by National Bank, can be found in this PDF:

Resources include:

  • Suggested Guidelines for Crafting Your Pitch Deck
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Social Business Model Canvas
  • Crafting Your Value Proposition Statement
  • Highlighting the Market Opportunity (TAM SAM SOM)
  • Competitive Positioning

Key Dates

Submission Dates

  • December 3, 2018- January 16, 2019 – Registration and five page startup plan due

Workshops & Events

  • January 10, 2019 - What it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup
  • January 30, 2019 – McGill Dobson Cup 2019 Welcome Reception
  • February 7, 2019 – McGill Dobson Cup Workshop #1 – How to pitch your startup
  • February 14, 2019 – McGill Dobson Cup Workshop #2 – Startups Financials & How to raise money

Semi-Final Pitches

  • February 19, 2019 – Qualifying Health Science track teams pitch to judges
  • February 20, 2019 – Qualifying Social Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 21, 2019 – Qualifying Small & Medium Enterprise track teams pitch to judges
  • February 22, 2019 – Qualifying Innovation Driven Enterprise teams pitch to judges

Final Pitches

  • March 27, 2019 – All tracks pitch to judges
  • April 4, 2019 – McGill Dobson Cup 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 $150,000 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.

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 Entreprenership. The recipient of the award shall be selected by the Director of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship.  The recipient for the award will be selected 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: $6,000

The McGill EngInE Prize 

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.  To be eligible for the McGill EngInE Prize in the McGill Dobson Cup, at least one team member must have an affiliation with the Faculty of Engineering (i.e. current student or professor).

Amount: $5,000

The Food and Agribusiness Convergent Innovation Prize

Convergent Innovation fosters individual 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 benefit(s). In 2018, Trussbridge joins FAES and MCCHE in awarding the prize. The winning team would need to be interdisciplinary, with at least one member from the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES) holding a substantial role in the team. The prize will be awarded to a team in the McGill Dobson Cup.

Amount: $5,000

Avmor Prize for Social Responsibility 

Established by Avi Morrow, founder and Chairman of Avmor, this is an annual prize for the best startup plan submitted in the McGill Dobson Cup by an undergraduate student(s) on behalf of a not-for-profit organization.  Awarded by the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.

Amount: $1,900