PITCH With a Twist - Celebrating International Women's Day

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March 6, 2024
5:30PM – 7:30PM EST

$10,000 in cash prizes!

PITCH showcases innovation and entrepreneurship from University of Toronto and our greater community. Focusing on early-stage ventures, we bring together innovators from a variety of sectors to pitch their businesses for cash prizes and in-kind support.

Join us on March 6th, 2024 for our fifth PITCH, International Women’s Month Edition, to stand in support of women entrepreneurs at a competition that promises to break down barriers and reward great ideas from diverse voices.

With a panel of women-identifying judges and all the people pitching will be women-identifying, coming in from two streams of ideas and early stage startups, come celebrate creativity and entrepreneurship for all. Learn from amazing speakers sharing their experiences, network with great companies, and witness exciting pitches as companies compete at the hub of entrepreneurship in action.

Speaker:

Catherine Addai (she/her)

Catherine Addai is the founder and owner of Toronto based women’s clothing company KAELA KAY, a brand she started in 2013 out of the basement of her home.  The premise of the brand is to offer bold, creative, and colourful clothing for today’s modern woman with a focus on using prints from her native Ghana, West Africa. Over the years, Catherine has grown her brand into a thriving business with 5 employees, a physical brick-and-mortar location, and a lucrative partnership with The Hudson’s Bay – all while raising her family.  She is a wife and mother to 3 young children: 12 year old Mikaela (whom the line is named after), 9 year old Lex, and 6 year old Janae – all of whom she credits with being her real drive to succeed in life.  A supporter of women in her community, all of Catherine’s current staff members are women of colour or visible minority.  She has often described these women as a wonderful extension of her business family.   

Over the years Catherine’s designs have graced many runways including New York Fashion Week, African Fashion Week Toronto, Fashion Arts Toronto and many magazines including FASHION and ELLE. Catherine has appeared on TV segments as well on Cityline and Today’s Shopping Choice (TSC).   

Catherine has won several awards including The Woman’s Wear Designer of the Year awarded by The African Fashion Industry Awards and the Peoples Choice Award Designer of The Year awarded by By Blacks. She has also worked with many significant corporations over the years to share her entrepreneurial journey in keynotes, podcast, and conversations. She’s worked with QuickBooks, Ford, LCBO, DHL, AMEX, AECON, Cashmere Canada, and LCBO to name a few. She also works on her personal influencer brand CATHERINE ADDAI, where she shares her passion for business, fashion, travel, beauty and family. 

Venture Categories:

Early stage

Do you have a business idea that will change the world for better? If you have an idea that aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals then you should apply here!

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have a self-identified woman founder or co-founder
  • Before submitting your application, 1 team member must register to attend the event by purchasing a $10 ‘Applicant’ ticket, allowing you access to the event at a discounted rate whether you make it to the finals or not. You can purchase your ‘Applicant’ ticket by using code ‘ApplicantDiscount’
  • Submission to uphold equity and inclusion practices, which includes “creat[ing] a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person”, in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Registrants must be a student or alumni of the University of Toronto; OR participants of any of the U of T CLA/Incubator programs – or a regional incubator (e.g. EDGE at Sheridan College, IDEA Mississauga, etc.)
  • Product or service idea must not be in the market (pre-launch)
  • Less than $25k in investments (Angels, VCs, grants) as of February 7th, 2023

Prizes:

  • 1st place = $3,000.00 + Premium Coaching Package from Co-Found Wealth (valued at $1,600)
  • 2nd place = $1,500.00
  • People’s Choice = $500.00

Later stage

If you are the founder of co-founder of an early-stage start-up that aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals then you should apply here!

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have a self-identified women founder or co-founder
  • Before submitting your application, 1 team member must register to attend the event by purchasing a $10 ‘Applicant’ ticket, allowing you access to the event at a discounted rate whether you make it to the finals or not. You can purchase your ‘Applicant’ ticket by using code ‘ApplicantDiscount’
  • Submission to uphold equity and inclusion practices, which includes “creat[ing] a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person”, in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Must be incorporated in Canada
  • Registrants must be a student or alumni of the University of Toronto; OR participants of any of the U of T CLA/Incubator programs – or a regional incubator (e.g. EDGE at Sheridan College, IDEA Mississauga, etc.)
  • Less than $100k in cumulative revenue and/or external investment (Angels, VCs, grants) as of February 7th, 2023

Prizes:

  • 1st place = $3,000.00 + Greater Toronto Executive Centre package (valued at $600)
  • 2nd place = $1,500.00
  • People’s Choice = $500.00

All finalists must be able to:

  • Have a Pitch practice session with an ICUBE staff member
  • Available to present in-person on March 6th as a finalist
  • U of T students and alumni are strongly encouraged to register and complete the free UTE IP Education Program – Level 1 modules (~2 hours) before the competition.

Important Dates:

  • Applications Open: January 15th, 2024

  • Applications Deadline: February 20, 2024

  • Event: March 6th, 2024 5:30-7:30 pm
Our Judges:
Past winners:
acetheinterview_logo
Ace Inc.
cove
Cove Neurosciences Inc.
Screenshot 2023-11-10 at 1.21.43 PM
After 5 Furnished
Screenshot 2023-11-10 at 1.22.45 PM
Epi Health
family & feelings
StreetWise
HDAX Therapeutics Inc.
First Place Early Stage Winner
Sparked
Second Place Early Stage Winner
Hope Pet Food
First Place Later Stage Winner
Liohan
Second Place Later Stage Winner
Arbre
People's Choice Winner
Screenshot 2023-11-10 at 12.57.50 PM
Mommy Monitor
Early Stage Winner
Screenshot 2023-11-10 at 12.58.58 PM
MedEssist
Later Stage Winner
1630575626299
Axonaly
People's Choice Winner
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ICUBE, The home of Social Entrepreneurship at UofT, offers resources, programs, workshops and mentorship for people who are changing the world. If you want to make a difference, ICUBE is here to help you make it.

Indigenous business training program created by RedBird Circle Inc. in partnership with UofT Libraries, ICUBE UTM and The Bridge at UTSC

An experiential learning program that follows the school 3 semesters schedule, for anyone with a great idea who wants to make it happen.

A boutique-style remote program to support your business development and help you grow through one-on-one support. This program is open all year.

A student-led creative studio with intends to serve the prototyping and design needs of our ventures and small businesses in our community.

This 2-day retreat is designed to help you reflect on your journey, what drives you, all the hats you wear and what is next for you and your social enterprise.