5 lessons learned on what it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup

As the McGill Dobson Cup 2017 application deadline is just around the corner, what better event to hold than a presentation on What it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup.

Maher Ayari and Renjie Butalid from the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, presenting on what it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 we began our event with Renjie Butalid, Marketing & Operations Advisor for the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Maher Ayari, President of the McGill Dobson Student Executive Team, giving a detailed presentation about the process of the McGill Dobson Cup.

They explained in great detail the 4 tracks of the McGill Dobson Cup, the difference between the Semi-Finals and Finals, and the application process (fill out the application form here and submit a 5-page business plan by January 18 at 11:59PM), and along the way, gave advice on what you should be doing if you want to win.

READ ALSO: What you missed at the Dobson Startup Bootcamp 2017

Samuel Bruneau, CEO and co-founder of Taiga Motors, 1st place winners of the Innovation Driven Enterprise Track in the McGill Dobson Cup 2016

We ended our presentation with two winners of the McGill Dobson Cup 2016 sharing their experience: Samuel Bruneau, CEO and co-founder of Taiga Motors, who won took first place in the Innovation Driven Enterprise Track; and Zoey Li, co-founder of YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION who took first place in the Small & Medium Enterprise Track. In their presentation, they gave the audience a great deal of advice that was essential for their respective successes.

READ ALSO: 2016 McGill Dobson Cup Winners

Zoey Li, co-founder of YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION, 1st place winners of the Small & Medium Enterprise Track in the McGill Dobson Cup 2016

We ended the night with a wonderful networking session, where our audience members were able to interact with the McGill Dobson Centre team and our presenters for the evening.

5 lessons learned on what it takes to win the McGill Dobson Cup

If you missed our event on Wednesday, here is all the advice from the McGill Dobson Centre team and previous McGill Dobson Cup 2016 winners on how to win the McGill Dobson Cup:

1. Pick the right Track 

  • When you pick which track your startup goes into, you need to be thinking about what kind of help you want to get from the judges and mentors. Do you need feedback in the medical field or do you need something with more innovation driven experience and guidance? Narrow down which track your company fits into and then go from there.

2. Know everything about your company and the industry 

  • During the pitches, if you seem like you don’t know your industry, your judges (who are experts in the industry) will call you out on it. Knowing everything about your industry gives you credibility in front of the judges, which gives you a better chance of winning.
  • To use an example given by one of the winners from 2016: Sam from Taiga Motors was questioned by one of the judges that maybe the electric snowmobile won’t sell because drivers like the smell of gasoline. Sam responded with statistics and information from conducting over 100 interviews with their potential customers that this was not the case and that electric snowmobiles were preferred. By knowing such a small piece of information, Sam and his team members not only showed credibility but also showed that their product creates value for their customers.

3. Demonstrate and highlight your progress

  • Being accepted into the McGill Dobson Cup is just the first step of this competition. Making and showing progress is what makes you win. Once your team gets to the Semi-Finals, your judges will be looking for major progress when you approach the Finals. You will need to provide them with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The judges need to see that you are working and committed to your company. Show the judges traction, however small it may be, and this will make you stand out.

4. Think long term

  • It’s great to have an idea and even greater if you are able to go forth and win the McGill Dobson Cup. However, you also need to be thinking about how you are going to take the experience of the McGill Dobson Cup and the potential funding you might get to help build into a long-term goal of the company. As advised by Zoey from YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION, the McGill Dobson Cup is a stepping stone towards a bigger journey.

5. The key to success = commitment

  • Both Sam and Zoey, our winners from last year, emphasized the fact that the company that you are about to create, or have already created, has to be one of your top priorities in life. You need to be working on this company as hard as you possibly can and the judges need to see this.
  • Taking an anecdote from Zoey, who was asked during the competition whether she would work on her company after the competition, she instinctively responded with a “Hell yeah!” One of the judges later told her that it was that immediate response and the commitment she showed that got her to the finish line successfully.

READ ALSO: The McGill Dobson Cup 2016 Grand Finale

Don’t forget if you need any help through your journey in the McGill Dobson Cup or regarding your startup, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship is here to help you. We have increased our mentoring hours for early stage start-ups and later stage start-ups during the course of the McGill Dobson Cup.

Also, don’t miss out on our weekly events,

Applications for the McGill Dobson Cup are open until January 18, 2017 at 11:59PM. Apply now!

Good luck to all those who are applying to the Dobson Cup!

The 4 tracks of the McGill Dobson Cup

  1. Innovation Driven Enterprise Track: Innovation-Driven Enterprise (IDE) Track startups generally build their business upon a technology, science or idea that will give them a significant or radically disruptive advantage compared to their peers.
  2. Small & Medium Enterprise Track: The Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Track is for those startups that likely are started by an individual or group to serve a local market. A distinct feature of an SME startup is that they mainly focus on local markets.
  3. Health Sciences Track: Startups in the Health Sciences (HS) Track build primarily on research and technology in the sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, medicine and dentistry as well as a variety of multidisciplinary fields to improve health, prevent and cure diseases, and understand how humans and animals function.
  4. Social Enterprise (SE) Track: A Social Enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders.

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Sharanya Venkatesh

Sharanya Venkatesh is a U3 Geography and Social Entrepreneurship student at McGill University. Being a new member to The Dobson Chronicles team, she looks forward to learning more about the startup community at McGill and in Montreal.