Win funding to help advance your innovative business idea

Concept $5K

The Concept $5K pitch competition offers the opportunity for University of Waterloo student led teams with innovative solutions and high potential business ideas to showcase their hard work and compete for grant funding. Participants receive valuable feedback, pitching experience, and idea validation from a network of experienced entrepreneurs and Concept Coaches.  

4 teams pitched to a panel of judges

Congrats to the Spring 2021 Winners!

Meet the winners

New this semester: Concept $5K Health Grant

The Spring 2021 Concept $5K Pitch Competition will feature an additional $5K grant for student led teams with health focused business ideas. This new grant will allow eligible teams to win up to $10,000 to help turn their health related concept into a reality and take their idea to market. The application process for the additional Health specific $5K is the same, simply fill out an online application to show the viability and high potential of your business idea for your chance to advance to the Concept $5K Semi-Finals.

It’s only three steps to win a $5K Grant:

Step 1


Do you have an innovative idea in need of early stage funding? Submit an online application and start your journey to the $5K Finals. All applicants will receive feedback whether you advance in the competition or not.

Step 2


The top applicants will be invited to pitch at the Concept $5K Semi-Finals to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs. Each competitor will have just 3 minutes to present their idea and convince the judges it has the potential and viability to succeed.  

Apply today!

Step 3


This is where the magic happens. Only the best of the best from the Semi-Finals are invited to pitch at the Concept $5K Finals. Ten teams will take the stage, but only four will take home a cheque.

What does this look like? Check out our YouTube Channel to watch pitches from previous competitions and get inspired to pitch an innovation of your own!

Watch previous pitches!

Important dates!

The Concept $5K Finals are held three times a year. The dates to take note of for the Spring 2021 term are as follows:

• May 25: Applications open
• June 20: Applications close
• July 14 & 15: Concept $5K Semi-Finals
• July 29: Concept $5K Finals

Eligibility Requirements

  • You’re currently a University of Waterloo undergraduate student, graduate student or postdoc
  • You have an idea or concept that has the potential to be turned into a scalable startup (i.e. it has big market and high growth potential).
  • You and your idea/team haven’t received $50K or more in funding (e.g. from grants, Velocity Fund Pitch Competition)
  • You want to meet cool people and have lots of fun!


A: For sure! Startups don’t all build robots and apps. The common thread that ties tech startups together is that they all leverage technology to build highly scalable businesses that serve big ($$) markets. What form that technology takes could be hardware, software, or science. Your startup can sell a service or a product and can work in any industry! 
You can either apply individually or with a team. However, only one person can pitch on-stage during the $5K Semi-Finals and Finals and the person pitching must be a current University of Waterloo student. An idea/team can only win a Concept $5K Grant once. 
Short answer – you’re never too early to apply! The very exercise of going through the application process can be valuable in getting you to think about your business in a different way and participating (even if you don’t win) is a great way to get feedback and gain experience pitching to an audience.

Curious how far along past winning ideas have been? Check out past finalist pitches. Still not sure? Book a 1:1 coaching session and ask one of our coaches!
We spoke to our application review team and gathered tips on submitting a successful application, and it is considered a must-read for anyone applying. We highly encourage applicants to attend the Intro Session: Pitch to Win after their application has been submitted. At the workshop, you will be shown different components of a three-minute business pitch, and have the chance to practice in front of your peers and receive helpful feedback. 
Yes. No steps can be skipped on the road to glory!
Nope! The $5,000 is a grant for you/your team to use to continue developing your concept into a startup and take it to the next level! 
Note: Student teams can only win a Concept $5K Grant once. 
No you do not. You just need to prove your team and innovation is worthy of the grant and will use this funding to further advance your solution.  
Yes you can! 

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