The Up-Start! Competition is a business pitch competition open to participants in the Entrepreneurship 101 lecture series. Individuals, or teams, must give a 10-minute presentation on business idea in one of the following industry categories:

  1. Information & communications technology (ICT)
  2. Cleantech
  3. Health

The business must be one that they wish to implement or have already started. Entrants are expected to apply the concepts that they have learned from the course to their business idea and to make a compelling case that this will lead to a successful business.

The prize

A cash prize of $15,000 will be awarded for the top business pitch presentation. The winner will also receive access to MaRS market research services (approximate value of $20,000) and a MaRS facility rental (approximate value of $2,500).


Workshops to help you prepare

The Up-Start! Competition workshop series is a seven-week intensive program designed to help you prepare for the pitch competition. Each of the three modules focuses on key areas of startup development. The modules are led by experienced entrepreneurs to give you the tools, mentoring and feedback necessary to advance your startup. The workshops run weekly on Mondays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., January 11 to February 29, 2016. They are limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must be enrolled in the Entrepreneurship 101 course.

Accepted applicants will be notified via email by December 18.

About the Up-Start! Competition

To enter the Up-Start! Competition, each individual or team must submit an executive summary by March 11, 2016. The submission process will open online in January 2016.

A selection committee will review each application. Ten entrants will be selected to move to the next round where they will work one-on-one with a MaRS advisor.

The final competition will take place on May 18, 2016. Presentations will be made under the cover of a non-disclosure agreement that all audience members will be required to sign. The judges will pick the winners on that day and prizes will be awarded to the top presentations at a reception following the competition.


Interested in participating in the Up-Start! Competition? Check the eligibility criteria.

Up-Start! Competition Award powered by:


Past winners 

2015 ShapeTrace Labs Read the blog post by Ernest Yap, Co-founder and President, ShapeTrace Labs: Why there’s never a “right time” to launch your startup
2014 Vessel Innovations Read the blog post featuring an interview with Andre Furlotte, CEO: And the 2014 Up-Start! Winner Is…
2013 TrendyMED Read the blog post featuring an interview with Ronny Barrelli, CEO, TrendyMED: MobileIV wins $10,000 Up-Start! Competition prize.
2012 LIFEbike Read the blog post by Henry Chong, CEO, Revelo Bikes Inc.: LIFEbike: A winner’s perspective
2011 The Hot Plate Read the blog post by Amanda Garbutt, Owner and Co-founder, The Hot Plate: A winner’s take on the Up-Start! Competition
2010 Shape Collage Read the blog post about winner Vincent Cheung: Student entrepreneurship at its best
2009 UiRemote/DreamCube Read the blog post from one of the winning team, John Zhou: “Reflections of an up-start” and the follow-up story, “Up-start competitors: The continuing saga
2008 SWIFTPlate See the photo and story about Vanessa James
2006 Mobile Laboratory Services Read the press release: “MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 for Researchers: Up-Start Competition winner announced


Competition enquiries can be directed to
Workshop enquiries can be directed to

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