OBI Entrepreneurs Application

Applications are now under review. Stay tuned for the 2017 competition.

Important Dates

Monday, March 28, 2016 Application deadline (11:59 PM EST)
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Pitch Session candidates will be notified
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Pitch Session 
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Letter of acceptance will be sent out 
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Welcome/Orientation Day
Summer 2016 Program starts


Program Details

  • The program will provide $50,000 (per individual) in financial support to up to 10 post-graduates and early-stage entrepreneurs (approximately (5) years after last post-graduate fellowship) to allow them to focus full-time, over a one year period, on neuroscience-related product development and commercialization activities.
  • The $50,000 cash award can be used for stipend or other project-related costs approved by OBI.
  • The successful applicants will work with OBI, and other program partners to conduct a milestone-based performance plan (e.g., develop a business plan), focused on developing entrepreneurial skills;
  • The funding to the OBI Entrepreneur during the one-year program will be contingent upon achieving milestones related to the product development/commercialization cycle. The selected entrepreneurs will complete the relevant phases of the program, depending on their needs and their projects;
  • Each OBI Entrepreneur will be assigned an industry-based mentor(s) and liaise with the OBI through a dedicated point of contact;
  • All entrepreneurs will be placed in training and support programs that encompass different phases of product development and/or commercialization.  These programs are run by OBI’s Ontario-based partners and allow the Program to 1) utilize currently available capabilities and expertise; 2) leverage more funds and services, and 3) increase the number of participants for existing programs;
  • OBI Entrepreneurs will be offered space outside the lab to manage their entrepreneurial activities and begin their careers beyond the bench.

Program Eligibility

  • Applicant must be a full-time early-stage entrepreneur based in Ontario

  • Must have an incorporated company or have a plan to incorporate a company based in Ontario focused on technology that has a fundamental influence on how people understand, improve or treat neurological, neuropsychiatric, and/or sensory diseases

  • Funding must be used to further the commercialization of products (e.g. devices, therapeutics, software/ICT) in neurotechnologies defined above. 

Program Competition Guidelines

There are two rounds to the entrepreneurs competition: 1) Application Package; 2) The Pitch Session.

1) Application Package

In the first round of the competition, applicants will be required to submit an application package consisting of:

• Five questions
• One two-minute video
• A two-page CV. 

Do NOT disclose proprietary information about your idea or invention anywhere in your application as the information may be used by OBI for program and communication purposes.

*Disclaimer: Your application, including the uploaded video, will become the property of the OBI.  OBI reserves the right to disclose the name of the applicant and project details and/or use the video in publications and other types of media for program and/or communication purposes (e.g. including without limitation in media releases, annual reporting and advertisement). Therefore do NOT disclose any proprietary information about your idea and/or invention anywhere in your application.

a) The Questions

You will provide clear, concise answers for the following 5 topics: your background, your idea/technology, the opportunity, your network, and your project plans.

The Review Committee will be looking for the following types of information in each topic:

Section I: Your Background (250 word max.)

Tell us about why you want to become an entrepreneur, and describe your educational background (e.g. formal training, experience, or technical expertise) and any prior experiences that will allow you to drive the proposed project forward. In essence, why will you be a good entrepreneur?

Section II: Your Idea/Technology (250 word max.)

Provide a clear but concise description of your product or idea, including, but not limited to, the research it is based on, its competitive advantage, and the current development status, as well as any IP around it.

Section III: The Opportunity (250 word max.)

Provide information on the market size, the primary target market, and go to market strategy.

Section IV: Your Network (250 word max.)

Tell us about your team, any mentors and advisors you currently have, and any relationships you have developed within industry and academia.

Section V: Your Project Plan and Outcomes (250 word max.)

Provide an outline of your technology development and overall project plans (short and long-term) and any expected outcomes.

b) The 2-minute video

In preparing the two-minute video, make sure to communicate:

  • why your idea is important,
  • why you want to be an OBI entrepreneur,
  • what you would like to achieve through this program if selected

The video must not exceed two minutes. The video must be uploaded onto YouTube, and a link to the video must be provided when completing the online application form.  The video must be set to “Unlisted”.  Please note that OBI does not hold any responsibility for the content uploaded by the applicant.  Before uploading your video, please read the step-by-step instructions outlined here.

c) Upload your Resume

Upload your resume (two-page limit) on the application form, detailing your past and current education and experience.

Please remember, do NOT disclose proprietary information about your idea or invention anywhere in your application as the information may be used by OBI for program and communication purposes.

2) The Pitch Session

In the second round of the competition, the applicant will give a 5-minute pitch to a panel of expert judges.

During the Pitch Session, the applicant will be evaluated based on the aforementioned criteria as well as on the ability to communicate his/her ideas and business. 

Consider the following points for preparing a clear and effective presentation:

  • Organization: A well-organized presentation follows a clear, logical progression, beginning with an introduction and outline of the talk, and ending with a summary of the most important points.
  • Timing and pace: The presentation should contain the right amount of material for the time available (5 minutes) and be given at an appropriate rate (e.g. avoid rushing through the presentation; give your audience time to assimilate the information).
  • Visual/other aids: Audio-visual aids can greatly enhance your presentation when used appropriately.  Practice your presentation with the visual aids you’ll be using and make sure to test ahead of time any equipment you’ll be bringing as part of the pitch.
  • Clarity of speech:  Speak slowly and with conviction.  Enunciate clearly in well-modulated tones.
  • Personal presentation: Good posture and a professional dress code are expected.
  • Audience engagement, use of eye contact/movement: Maintain eye contact with your audience members to make them feel involved and engaged and to convey interest and confidence.  Do not read from slides.  Use natural gestures to highlight key points.
  • Questions: The question period is a key component of the Pitch Session and you will be evaluated on your ability to respond appropriately, clearly, and effectively

See highlights from the 2015 Pitch Session here.

Following the completion of the Pitch Session, selected applicants will be chosen and the awards will be announced to the winners.

Monday March 28, 2016 Application deadline (11:59 PM EST)
Wednesday April 20, 2016 Pitch Session candidates will be notified
Wednesday May 4, 2016 Pitch Session
Wednesday May 25, 2016 Letter of acceptance will be sent out
Wednesday June 1, 2016 Welcome/Orientation Day
Summer 2016 Program starts