Start-up companies can apply now for Ignite 2016 competition

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It’s time to register for Ignite 2016, the fourth annual startup competition in Durham Region hosted by Spark Centre.

Open to new technology, innovative and invention-based companies, the Ignite competition begins with a “pitch school” for all participants, and culminates in the celebration of two start-ups named as competition winners, which will each collect $25,000 in prize money, be given free office space in The Loft in Oshawa and will join Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program, which offers advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry.

Last year, 78 start-up companies competed in the three Ignite categories of student, young entrepreneur and general entrepreneur, and four months later judges had whittled the field down to the two winners: IFTech and Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments. With Ignite 2016, Spark Centre and its community partners are gearing up for another exciting and thorough selection process, which begins with a three-hour pitch school for all applicants on Sept. 20. Following that, each Ignite startup will have a chance to make their pitch to a panel of local entrepreneurs and business leaders, with the panel choosing finalists who will move on to a central pitch competition.

After the central pitch competition, a student entrepreneur is selected for a $5,000 prize, and five other Ignite finalists, including two from the young entrepreneur category and three general entrepreneurs, go on to the next round. The five finalists go through a bootcamp and will deliver a 20-minute investment presentation to the Ignite panel before the competition winners are announced. The awards ceremony for Ignite 2016 will be held Nov. 17.

The competition’s cash prizes help the winners launch their start-ups without adding debt, while all participants learn how to pitch their ideas, have a chance to practice in front of real investors, and get an amazing opportunity to network with other local entrepreneurs.

There is no fee to apply, and applications for the young and general entrepreneur categories must be received by 5 p.m. Sept. 9. The deadline for student entrepreneur applications is 5 p.m. Sept. 16.

For more details on Ignite 2016 and a link to register online, visit ignitedurham.ca.