collaborate, create, pitch

Students from Science, Business and Arts faculties at Saint Mary’s University are invited to participate in our first Innovation Cup. In this event students will network, learn from professionals and develop business plans while competing for the top prize of $10,000 and a guaranteed summer position in the RBC Talent Hub. 



The Innovation Cup will challenge 30 students to work in cross-disciplinary teams of a maximum of three students, one from each faculty (Science, Business and Arts), to develop product-based or process-based solutions for consumers.

  • Beginning with a half-day, hackathon-style session, students will be given industry challenges, and teams begin developing their ideas.
  • Students will come together for weekly workshops and coaching sessions
  • Teams will be challenged to complete a total of weekly tasks over ten weeks on their own, as their ideas take shape over the course of the project. 

Students also have the option to partner with or work in tandem with a startup.

Registration closes on Friday, September 29 at 11:59 p.m. ADT.



The winning team is awarded the coveted Innovation Cup and presented with a prize of $10,000! Following this, the team’s solution will be put through an implementation process. The Innovation Cup is also a great opportunity to network and boost students’ professional development.  

On the last day of the competition, a panel of Saint Mary’s University alumni, successful founders and business leaders will offer industry insights and offer the participants a chance to network with them and the local incubators, venture capitalists and financial institutions. 

Additional benefits for students:

    • Key business and entrepreneurial skills, tools and training
    • Perform research on the challenge they hope to solve
    • Isolate their target market and customer and develop strategies for market tests
    • Work independently to interview and survey their target markets and customers
    • Receive instruction on crafting a professional pitch
    • Professional development and networking opportunities
    • Continued support from Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre and its network of incubators and venture capitalists
    • A guaranteed summer position for three team members in the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre Accelerator Program with the RBC Talent Hub!



All participants must:  

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at Saint Mary’s University 
  • Each team must consist of students from Science, Business and Arts
  • Sign up with a product or process innovation or a commercial idea in any industry



The Innovation Cup runs between October to December 2023, with a series of challenges every week. Challenges will range from:

  • Design thinking
  • Creative problem solving
  • Implementation of a concept and bringing ideas to fruition 
  • Enhancing students’ familiarity with the business model canvas
  • Market and customer validation and
  • Crafting and delivering compelling pitches.  

The event is split into ten weeks, starting October 2, with bi-weekly/weekly eliminations towards the second half of the event. Weeks of October and November will see the participants attending sessions, workshops and activities which progress their ideas and towards creation and building. Teams will build prototypes and mockups of their proposed ideas and solutions throughout the competition  

• October 2

Orientation and Introduction Session 
4-7 p.m. 

Kicking off Open Innovation at Saint Mary’s University and the Innovation Cup, the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre welcomes all students, professors and deans to join us at the launch of the race to $10k ! We will have Alan Maingot, co-founder of Maingot & Kaw Innovation and Leadership Consulting and funder for the Open Innovation incentive.

Register here.


 • October 12  

Solving a need


 • October 19

 Business Model Canvas & Idea Validation


 • October 26

Elimination Week 

Round 1 – 8 in, 2 out


 • November 2 

BMC Validations and How to Conduct Research


 • November 9

Elimination Week

Round 2 – 6 in, 2 out


 •November 23    

Speed Dating pitching! 

Connect with people from other start up programs


 • November 30 

Elimination Week 

 Round 3 – 4 in, 2 out


 •December 8  

Semi Final and Finals

create a team

develop an idea

pitch for $10,000!

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