Business Buzz: pitch competitions edition

If you’re an entrepreneur or someone eager to enter the start-up world, then you’ve probably heard of pitch competitions. Pitch competitions can vary, but essentially, you present a problem, pitch a compelling solution, and hope the judges like your idea. While pitch competitions are a great way to polish your presentation skills, learn about industry-specific needs, and even earn some cash, they can be incredibly time-consuming. As an aspiring entrepreneur, should you dedicate time to compete in pitch competitions?

The short answer: it depends. The long answer is more complicated. Personally, I like to evaluate each pitch competition based on the learning outcomes I see myself accomplishing. Recently, I competed as a finalist for the Sustainable Innovation Challenge at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and it was a great way for me to hear others’ ideas, learn about sustainability practices, and practice my presentation skills. However, if there was a fee attached, then I probably wouldn’t have entered because I have other responsibilities demanding my time, energy, and cash. But if you have the time and energy, (along with a bit of money to spend), it can absolutely be a rewarding experience!

I do think the start-up community places too much emphasis on pitch competitions, though. While there are many great competitions out there and numerous reasons to participate, I don’t believe winning a pitch competition determines your capabilities as an entrepreneur. When you pitch an idea, you’re evaluated on that idea, and then rewarded with funds to pursue that idea—if you win. But turning that idea into something more than a slide deck is where the real work happens. And when you focus only on pitch competitions, you won’t have time to turn your idea into a full-fledged business.

Because pitch competitions are time-consuming, it can feel like a hassle preparing for them. However, if you’re already working on an idea or project and an opportunity arises, then absolutely go for it. I just don’t see the benefits of solely focusing on pitch competitions. Know your motivations behind why you want to participate, and you’ll leave pitch competitions feeling content with what you’ve gained, regardless of whether you win.

Stay buzzing,


Arts & Entertainment Editor (Volume 50); Staff Writer (Volume 49) — Hannah is in her final year double majoring in Communications, Culture, Information and Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communications (PWC). In her spare time, Hannah runs her sticker shop The Aesthetics Studio and listens to podcasts while drawing. Hannah’s previous publications include PWC’s official journal of creative non-fiction in Mindwaves Vol. 15 and research in Compass Vol. 9 and 10. She also served as an Associate Editor for Compass Vol. 9 and Vol. 10. Hannah was a Staff Writer for The Medium Vol. 49 and 50 before becoming the A&E Editor. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *