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Stay tuned as details are announced for the second annual Unlock Your Big Idea Pitch Competition!

When are we announcing #UYBIpitch 2017?

Official announcement coming soon! Stay in touch by signing up for our newsletter
and see how you could win prizes to grow your business.

Finalists announced for the Unlock Your Big Idea Pitch Competition!

Best Innovation for Tech Business

Unique concept involving technology or creative problem solving application in the ideation or early development stage by entrepreneurs with at least one team member under the age of 29:

Best Disruptive Innovation

Novel creation or application of science and technology including (but not limited to) advanced materials and manufacturing, robotics, engineering, life science, industrial Internet of Things, etc.

Best Innovation for Small Business

Entrepreneurs in this category should submit an innovative business idea that demonstrates outside-the-box thinking, an original spin to something familiar or the development of a unique product or service that will provide new or greater value to the consumer. Open to individuals with a new start up business idea or an existing business with a new business idea.

Best "Investment Ready" Company

Novel company with high growth potential and high margins ready for investment.

Read the official press release here!

Esteemed Panel of Judges for the Live Pitch Finale

Dan Sinai

Senior Executive, Innovation Ecosystems, IBM Canada | LinkedIn

Dan Sinai is currently a Senior Executive at IBM Canada where he works with the Canadian start-up community and manages the company’s innovation and incubation initiatives.

Prior to joining IBM, Dan served as Western University’s Associate Vice-President (Research). In this capacity, Dan set the strategic direction for, and led, a team of research administration professionals at one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities.

A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Dan has held various key research administration positions with both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada. He also has extensive R&D program and policy experience, and has worked for several high technology companies, including Nortel and EK3 Technologies.


Heather Arthur

Director of Business Care, Rogers Communications | LinkedIn | Twitter

Heather Arthur is a high-energy, passionate, and hands-on executive at Rogers Communications.

As Director of Business Care, Heather supports a team of over 1400 employees across Canada in the Business to Business sector.

With expertise ranging from strategic operational planning, performance coaching and leadership development, Heather is the one who inspires her team to look at every problem as an opportunity and loves challenging her team to do the right thing for customers, employees and shareholders.


Karen Grant

Executive Director, Angel One Investor Network | LinkedIn | Twitter

Karen Grant has launched three angel groups: Toronto Angel Group (2001), Northern Ontario Angels (2005) and Angel One Investor Network in 2011.

She is a company founder, corporate director and mentor.

In 1991, she led the Toronto Venture Group, a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to “bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and capital” working with hundreds of companies that were seeking capital.

Karen’s corporate experience includes 12 years with IBM Canada where she had roles in sales, marketing and communications.


Matt Schnarr

Founder and Managing Partner, AWAKE Chocolate | LinkedIn | Twitter

Matt Schnarr graduated from Wilfrid Laurier and has spent 13 years working for some of the biggest consumer packaged foods companies such as PepsiCo and Kraft

Matt was awarded the winner of the Kraft Sales Rep of the Year award, PepsiCo Key Account Manager of the Year award and the PepsiCo Ring of Honor.

In 2012, he left the big corporations with two friends to start AWAKE Chocolate which is now sold in 20,000 stores across North America including Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart USA, Walgreens. He made a successful pitch on Dragons Den and is considered one of the "Den's Best".


Michael List

Principal, GreenSky Capital, Ormston List Frawley LLP | LinkedIn

Michael is both a partner at GreenSky Capital and a partner and practicing lawyer at Ormston List Frawley LLP, where his practice focuses on providing corporate, commercial and transactional advice.

n the early 2000s, Michael co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer of a multi-national computer hardware distributor. In the late 2000s, he was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of a private Canadian currency exchange brokerage which was sold two and a half years after its inception.

Michael is also currently a director and General Counsel of Smart Energy Instruments, an international fabless semi-conductor company.

Michael has a B.A.H. from Queen’s University and an LL.B. from Queen’s University. Michael was called to the bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2000.


Sean Stanleigh

Managing Editor, Globe Edge Content Studio, The Globe and Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter

Sean Stanleigh is Managing Editor of the Globe Edge Content Studio, the content marketing division at The Globe and Mail.

He has an extensive background in journalism in a variety of disciplines, including business, national, foreign and local news.

Sean is also co-founder of The Entrepreneurship Society, which hosts learning and networking events for high-growth business owners, and he volunteers his time as a mentor and adviser for several non-profit organizations.


Stephen Beney

Partner, Bereskin & Parr LLP | LinkedIn | Twitter

Stephen Beney is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP and Head of the Medical Devices practice group.

Stephen works with clients to assess IP needs, and has helped to secure patents for a diverse array of clients, including start-ups, small- to medium-sized enterprises, major multinational companies and university researchers.

Stephen has been proven valuable to his clients in securing their patent rights in diverse technologies, including: automotive; medical devices and imaging systems; electronic devices; communication systems; video and signal processing systems; mass spectrometry; solar power devices and systems; fuel cell technology; internet systems; business methods; and cleantech devices and systems. He advises on IP management and strategic planning and has prepared many patentability opinions, as well as infringement and validity opinions.


In addition to his extensive patent work, Stephen has experience in preparing and prosecuting industrial design applications.


Nav Nanwa

Master of Ceremonies | LinkedIn | Twitter

Nav Nanwa is the producer/host of the show "Business Casual" on Rogers TV Peel. The show profiles the local Peel business community, and hot topic issues currently affecting the business world.

]Nav's been with Rogers TV Peel for almost three years, where he has covered various local affairs including the most recent Federal, Provincial, and Municipal elections.

He holds an MBA & B.Com (Hons.) from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, and has extensive marketing experience in industries such as real estate, financial services, pharmaceuticals and consumer-packaged goods.

Aside from his work with Rogers TV, Nav just recently launched a podcast called “The Network” ( where he converses with various professionals on a plethora of topics like business, community affairs, and arts/media.


Read what the judges have to answer when posed the question "What is your one piece of advice to any startup pitching at the Live Pitch Finale?"

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