On May 25th, nine finalists will compete in the sixth annual Up-Start! Competition at MaRS.

The Up-Start! Competition is a business pitch competition for participants in the Entrepreneurship 101 lecture series. Individuals or teams will give a 10-minute presentation on a business idea in the following categories: ICT, cleantech, social venture and life sciences.  Competitors are expected to apply concepts from the course to make a compelling case.

This year there are two prizes on the line:

The first, a prize of $10,000, sponsored by Tricaster Holdings Inc.-Chairman David Campbell, will be awarded for the top business plan and presentation. In addition to this, the winner will receive $5,000 in in-kind services from Tabrizi Law Office.

A second prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the Best Blended Value Opportunity, one that has demonstrated a social, health or environmental impact while balancing financial returns. This prize comes from an anonymous donation of $5,000 matched by MaRS.

Check out the competition:

Social venture

Henna Heals

Henna Heals is a social enterprise that provides henna hair-alternative services and professional photography services for cancer patients experiencing hair loss. Henna artists create temporary henna designs, known as “henna crowns”, on clients’ heads, offering them the opportunity to empower and express themselves while also supporting the employment of henna artists, who are newly arrived Canadian women.

The Virtual Wallet

The Virtual Wallet is like the eBay of personal information. Helping social service organizations collect, analyze and report on highly customized performance outcomes through exclusive access to a database of market intelligence. The information is collected through a personally controlled social service record that consumers can use free of charge to manage their interactions with providers of social services.

Life sciences & health care

uFluidix Inc.

uFluidix Inc. has developed a novel bonding technology for the scalable production of lab-on-a-chip (LOAC) devices. Hundreds of inexpensive silicone platforms can be bonded and sealed in a single step by applying a mixture of certain gasses. The enabling bonding technology brings the disposable diagnostics tools, for applications such as on-chip detection of infections, one step closer to reality.

Eve Medical

Eve Medical is an early-stage medical device company focused on the specific health care needs of women. They are currently developing their first product, a sample collection device that allows women to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea and HPV without a doctor’s exam. This device will reduce barriers that prevent 40% of women from being adequately screened and has the potential to reduce the cost of screening for patients and health care providers alike.

Information technology, communications and entertainment (ICE)

The Hot Plate

The Hot Plate is a complete guide to getting steamy in the kitchen on a budget. It is an accessible multimedia platform that delivers quick, simple, gourmet and affordable how-to cooking guides to students and young professionals. The Hot Plate features an online five-minute cooking show, 30-second “how-to” cooking tutorials, photographed step-by-step recipe guides and support for new cooks.

LocaWoka

LocaWoka believes that shorter commutes result in happier, more energetic employees. Through a smartphone application, LocaWoka enables job seekers to easily search for administrative, clerical and blue-collar opportunities in their neighbourhoods. It also helps employers by empowering them to hire enthusiastic and satisfied employees.

Rukkis.com

Rukkis.com helps to answer the questions on everyone’s mind. Rukkis is a social media site that enables interaction between public figures, the people that are interested in them, and the causes people care about by dynamically generating “most asked questions” lists to public figures and providing targeted messaging tools that public figures and charities use to produce the first true many-to-one/one-to-many conversations. By focusing on this relationship, they have built a simple yet innovative technology that compliments broadcast media such as blogs, microblogging and news publications.

180 Urban Solutions

180 Urban Solutions is an innovation company focused on creating innovative, sustainable web solutions.

Cleantech

Muiskem Inc.

Production of Bio-plastics Muiskem is interested in producing a unique bio-degradable plastic compound that brings an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to the food packaging and plastic film manufacturers. The proposed compound can replace a significant portion of non bio-degradable petrochemical plastics because its performance is comparable to those traditional plastics and can be produced at a lower cost than other bio-plastics currently available in the market.

This year’s judges are:

Jeff Brown, General Manager Business Banking, CIBC
Tim Draimin
,  Executive Director, Social Innovation Generation (SiG) National
Peter Evans
, Advisor, IT, Communications & Entertainment (ICE), MaRS
Shirley Speakman
, Director of Investments, Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), MaRS
Arshia Tabrizi
, Founding and Managing Partner, Tabrizi Law Office PC

Best of luck to all nine teams!

Check out some of our previous Up-Start! competition winners: Shape Collage, Dreamcube and SWIFTplate.

For more information and to register for the competition click here.

Marielle Voksepp

Marielle works as part of the education team at MaRS. She helps entrepreneurs get access to business resources both online and in-person. See more…