Winning business ideas by researchers recognized and rewarded

Upstart Competition brings out the best from MaRS Entrepreneurship for Researchers 101 Course

Toronto, May 2, 2006 – MaRS Discovery District’s Entrepreneurship 101 for Researchers: Up-Start Competition will announce its winning team of researchers with the best business idea on May 3, 2006 at the MaRS Centre. The winning team will be presented with a $10,000 cheque courtesy of the competition sponsor, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. The presentation will be made by Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS and Mark Romoff, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence.

“MaRS is committed to the training and mentoring of entrepreneurs across Ontario,” said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “We are honoured to recognize the creativity and drive of the researchers competing in the Up-Start Competition.”

“We are delighted to support MaRS and to celebrate the entrepreneurial acumen of graduates from its program,” said Mark Romoff, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence. “Enabling the brightest minds in Ontario to hone their business management skills is one more way that we are growing a culture of innovation in Ontario.”

The MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 for Researchers course was launched in October, 2005 as part of MaRS’ suite of programs to support the development and growth of young companies.

This 32-week non-credit course is designed to introduce members of the research community to issues relating to starting and growing a technology-based business. It targets graduate students, post-docs, faculty, technicians and others active in research in a scientific or engineering discipline, who have an interest in creating a company to exploit the results of their research.

For the course ending Up-Start Competition, teams of students will present a 10-minute pitch for a business idea they have and apply what they have learned from the course. The business ideas are drawn from the teams’ own research expertise and, in many cases, represent the opportunities that drew the students to attend the course in the first place.

The six criteria to be used by an independent panel of judges to evaluate the pitches are:

Have they clearly articulated the value proposition?

  1. Have they demonstrated competitive differentiation and intellectual capital?
  2. Have they demonstrated a business model that makes money?
  3. Have they demonstrated market awareness?
  4. How effective was the overall presentation?
  5. Would you invest?

Judges for the event include Peter Suma, of GrowthWorks, and Victor Scutaru of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

In addition to receiving the award, the winning team will benefit from complementary legal advice from Heenan Blaikie LLP and Ogilvy Renault LLP on intellectual property issues.

The award presentation will take place starting 5:30 p.m. on May 3, 2006 at the MaRS Centre, 101 College Street, Toronto.

The Entrepreneurship 101 course is based on the successful program offered last year by Professors Cynthia Goh and Dwayne Miller of the Department of Chemistry and Institute for Optical Sciences at the University of Toronto. This year it is offered through a partnership between MaRS and the organizers of last year’s program.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

OCE Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that delivers the Ontario Centres of Excellence program that is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The OCE supports the commercialization of research, industrial and academic collaboration, and technology transfer. It also facilitates the research and education of Ontario’s best and brightest students at universities, colleges and research hospitals. The OCE’s current areas of expertise include communications and information technology, earth and environmental sciences, photonics, energy, and materials and manufacturing.

MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 for Researchers: Up-start Competition

Wednesday, May 3, 2006
5:30 p.m. Reception and Award Presentation
MaRS Collaboration Centre Cafe
MaRS Centre
101 College Street, Toronto, ON

For more information, please contact:
Christine Terashita
Marketing Consultant
MaRS Discovery District
Tel: 416-673-8115

Jocelyn Brodie
Vice President Marketing & Communications
Ontario Centres of Excellence
Tel: 416-861-1092 x 1027


About MaRS

MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District