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Nike nailed it with the JUST DO IT branding as a sentence to inspire. The “just do it” mentality is key to success as an entrepreneur. One of the impactful outcomes of entering a pitch competition is that it gives unmovable dates. The progress you will make will astonish you because of the initiative that fixed date gives you. Having an unmovable date will get you moving towards a polished product/service and a perfected pitch. A great way to increase your odds of success is by making great use of the transactional velocity in your network and ecosystem.

Transactional Velocity

Transactional velocity is your ability to harness the resources within your network or ecosystem.  Some of the resources an entrepreneur might look for are the ability to get essential introductions, advice, and mentorship. This system works based on trust and the more trust there is in the system, the better the transactional velocity and the better the likely outcomes. Think of it like a friend vouching for you to someone whom you might otherwise have difficulty even getting a meeting with—having someone trusted to make the introduction or vouch for you will help get you the meeting.

When you are creating your pitch deck, remember to include your “ask” on your last slide so that your audience knows what you are looking for from this pitch.  It could be a pitch for funding, sponsorship, or even to a potential mentor. Also, remember to offer to help those in your network too. A big part of keeping the ecosystem effective is the transactional velocity.

Current Pitch Competitions in Alberta

Now that you have additional resources for your upcoming pitch, its time to find out what pitch competitions are available in Alberta. It’s past the application deadline for some of the competitions below, but attending the events and checking out past winners can help prepare you for your application next year.

Competition Details Date
150 Startups 150 Startups is a multi-year Alberta-wide initiative designed to expand Alberta’s entrepreneurial capacity by working with Alberta’s 26 colleges and universities. Determined by your institution.
INVENTURE$ Student Pitch Competition Open to entrepreneurial students and recent graduates, winners will be profiled to early-stage investors on the main INVENTURE$ stage. Apply by April 28, 2019.
INVENTURE$ 2019 Startups focused on specific categories in innovation are eligible to participate if they have launched their product/service within 24 months of the June 5, 2019 event date. Applications closed on March 18, 2019.
Event date: June 5–7, 2019
Energy New Venture Competition The Energy New Venture Competition is an early-stage pitch competition dedicated to the advancement of emerging innovations for the energy sector and is open to seed-stage companies, budding entrepreneurs, researchers, and students from around the globe. Applications closed on March 31, 2019.
Competition Date: June 4, 2019
Social EnterPrize The 2019 awards for this competition that celebrates Canadian organizations demonstrating best practices, impact, and innovation in social enterprise will be formally presented during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Applications are now closed.
Event Date: November 21, 2019
Fast Pitch This business pitch competition is open to local, non-profit organizations, and participants are selected based on their innovative approaches to creating social change. Dates for the 2019 competition have not been released yet. Deadline TBA
Event date (tentative): November 2019
Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge A business plan writing competition designed and targeted toward new or existing business (individuals or teams) who have a sustainable business idea. Regisitrations for next year’s intake will start in November 2019.
DemoCamp Alberta DemoCamp is a collaborative event that brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to showcase the best up-and-coming tech products in our province. Applications closed on March 22, 2019.
Event date: April 15, 2019
Banff Venture Forum Banff Venture Forum, Canada’s premier company financing event, is designed to showcase the hottest high-tech companies from across North America. TBA

Get Pitch-Perfect

Some of the most exciting and well-attended pitch competitions happen within the INVENTURE$ conference in Calgary. INVENTURE$ features rooms filled with “the right people” and prizes up to $10,000. INVENTURE$ also features a Student Track that is open only to post-secondary students. This student-focused pitch competition allows students to pitch, get feedback, and potentially win the opportunity to pitch in a room full of early-stage investors!

If you are interested in learning more about pitch competitions or you’d like to see some great pitches in person, be sure to check out INVENTURE$ in Calgary from June 5-7. With over 2000 attendees expected, INVENTURE$ is an excellent opportunity to get out, grow your transactional velocity, and get pitching!


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If you are looking for one-on-one support for your small business, give the Business Link Business Advisors a call at 1-800-272-9675 or email askus@businesslink.ca. You can also visit the events page for upcoming activities!

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Craig Elias and Corrina Deck

Craig Elias is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Bow Valley College. A pitch coaching legend in the Alberta entrepreneurial ecosystem, Craig currently runs his community-based entrepreneurship programs 150Startups, Innovation Rodeo, and the Startup Saturday series. You can reach Craig by phone at 1.403.874.2998 or email at celias@bowvalleycollege.ca

Corrina Deck is the Event Assistant at Business Link and is studying social marketing at University of Lethbridge (Calgary Campus).
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