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Concept and its innovation partner Problem Lab are ready to award $47,750 to student innovators

It’s an exciting time for University of Waterloo student innovators and a new term means new opportunities to compete to win. Up to $47,750 will be awarded through the Concept $5K competition, The Problem Lab Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch and the Co-op Problem Award

That means, four teams will share in $20,000 from the upcoming Concept $5K competition, with a People’s Choice award claiming $500. The Concept $5K applications are now open to those with an innovative idea in need of early-stage funding. The top applicants are invited to pitch before a panel of experienced entrepreneurs for the chance to win. Convince the judges in 3-minutes that your idea has the potential and viability to succeed, and you could walk away with funding. 

So, are you ready to launch your innovative idea? Apply now through Sunday, February 26. And, if you’re not yet ready for that 3-minute pitch, Concept can help. Fall 2021 Concept $5k recipient Aman Mathur experienced meeting with a coach prior to competition. He says it was “a great way to get another pair of eyes on my (his) semi-final pitch and get feedback.”  

Sometimes the best way to learn about growing your idea is to talk to others who have done just that. Concept Coaching provides invaluable information and resources through a one-on-one session.  

“The idea for a good start up comes from a good problem.” – Adrian Simone, Microbuild Masonry (Fall 2021 $5k Recipient)

An additional resource is to watch the Fall $5K pitches and interviews that include further advice from successful teams.  

The Problem Lab

Next is The Problem Lab Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch. This competition invites teams of up to four students to choose an important industry problem and thoroughly research its history, scope, and impact to ultimately pitch their findings to a panel of judges.

“It’s a perspective changing experience that will teach you skills you didn’t even know you needed” – Ethan Lee, previous Problem Pitch winner.

Ethan says that one of the many benefits of participating in the pitch was gaining “pitching and presentation skills, as well as learning the art of presenting a complex idea in a simple, concise manner.”   

The team with the best understanding of an important problem receives up to $15,000 for R&D to create a solution to their identified problem. Support is also awarded to runner-up teams.   

“As an added bonus, you get feedback sessions with the professionals from the Problem Lab who help you develop your presentation style into a useful tool to help build your career,” explains Mechanical Engineering student, Seth Lauzon. Both Seth and Ethan competed in the Spring 2020 Problem Pitch. 

Take Seth’s advice and “don’t be afraid to try it.”

Applications are now closed for Winter 2022.

Not good at pitching? Don’t worry!

Pitching may not be your thing, and that’s ok. The Co-op Problem Award is currently accepting applications until Monday, February 28. The scholarship is granted to a student that realizes a problem that is relevant to their co-op employer or the employer’s industry and can analyze its strategic and systemic importance.  

What’s the benefit of being able to solve a problem? Researcher and Student Advisor of The Problem Lab, Ben Graham says this, “By developing problem analysis skills, UWaterloo students are making themselves more valuable professionals who can succeed in their roles, step back to identify challenges affecting the strategic direction of an organization and critically analyze them to deliver actionable insights to their employer.” 

Time to submit your application for all or one of these exciting opportunities presented by Concept and Problem Lab!

Important Dates

Sunday, February 6 

Final day to apply for The Problem Lab Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch 

Sunday, February 26 

Final day to apply for the Concept $5K 

Monday, February 28 

Final day to apply for The Co-op Problem Award