The Concept $5K Grant (prev. known as Velocity Fund Finals $5K) is a great opportunity for students to perfect their three-minute pitch. Each term, 10 student teams pitch their business ideas to hundreds of spectators for the chance to take home one of four grant prizes worth $5,000.
This past February, Hellen Xia and Fineas Tatar, University of Waterloo students and Student Venture Fund (SVF) associates, got a behind the scenes look at the pitch competition by reviewing written applications, and participating as judges at the Concept $5K Semi-Finals. One of the goals of the SVF is to provide students with hands-on training in venture capital investing, along with guidance from industry experts and supervision by the School of Accounting and Finance faculty.
Hellen and Fineas offer their tips below on applying:
1. Describe the Problem
Make sure you can describe the problem in a clear and concise manner that can be understood by a non-technical audience. If you have done your research and understand the problem, you should be able to articulate this in no more than two to three sentences.
Besides the description, you also need to define the scope and size of the problem. You need to convince the reader why this problem is significant and for whom.
2. Validate the Problem
Show how you’ve validated the problem. It is important to validate the problem before you validate the solution. Customer interviews are the best way to discover real-life problems. They give a first-hand account of the challenges faced by customers and are preferred over polls and surveys.
3. Create a Prototype and Show Traction
Do you have a prototype? You can always start with a low fidelity version as a starting point, such as wireframes for an app or website. But having a tangible product that you can show to and test with potential customers is very valuable during the application process.
Also remember to explain how you have used insights from interviews to shape the solution you are proposing, as well as any interest from customers in purchasing the product (such as letters of intent).
It’s now your chance to win $5K. Applications for the Concept $5K Grant run three times a year. Read more on how to apply.