Early-stage Ontario agri-innovation start-ups are encouraged to participate in the second annual Ontario Agri-Tech Pitch Competition run by the University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office (RIO) in collaboration with the Government of Ontario. T
he competition supports promising pre-seed and seed stage agri-tech companies with a unique opportunity to showcase their innovations, connect with potential investors and partners and refine their business strategies through coaching and mentorship provided by specialists with the Research Innovation Office.
“Our goal with this competition is to provide visibility and support for start-up companies and to help drive innovation by bringing together interested individuals, organizations and businesses,” says Kelly Ziegler, event manager and Project Coordinator, New Venture Creation at RIO. “This is part of ongoing efforts by the University of Guelph and the Government of Ontario to foster innovation and collaboration in Ontario’s growing agri-tech ecosystem.”
The competition is open to any Ontario-based agri-tech start-up company, with a focus on early-stage companies preparing for seed investment. Companies must be incorporated as a business for less than five years and have a scalable business model to deliver a product or service from or for the agri-food sector.
Entries will be accepted by RIO from November 1, 2023 to February 19, 2024. Finalists will be announced on March 19, 2024 and will receive coaching and support to refine their pitch presentation and business strategies before their live pitches in front of an experienced investor judging panel in Guelph on June 20, 2024.
The company with the greatest potential for impact on the Ontario agri-food sector and beyond will win the $10,000 best in class grand prize. The People’s Choice Award winner selected by the pitch finale audience will receive $2,500 and a $1,000 Finalist Award will go to each team selected for the pitch finale.
The pitch competition was first launched in 2022 as an extension of the well-known Gryphon’s LAAIR Program funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Government of Ontario and the University of Guelph. This year’s event is supported by the Ontario AgriFood Innovation Alliance, RHA Partners/519 Growth Fund and the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise at the University of Guelph.