Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)

Faculty of Management
UNB Fredericton

Back to Intl. Business & Entrepreneurship Centre

The BMO Apex Startup Challenge

Apex business competition winners

The BMO Apex Startup Challenge invites students and entrepreneurs from across Canada to compete at the largest competition of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

Thanks to the generous support of BMO and our sponsors, teams will pitch their ideas to successful business leaders to win $30,000 in prizes.

Winners 2024

Investment presentation awards

  • First place | $5,000 | Aquavantage – St. Francis Xavier University
    Our innovative tool streamlines the handling, measuring, and banding processes, addressing inefficiencies in the Lobster fishing industry. Our user-friendly solution, designed for commercial fishermen and deckhands, ensures precision and compliance while saving time and effort. We offer a game-changing product that simplifies lobster.

  • Second place | $2,000 | Athlete Aid – UNB & St. Francis Xavier University

    At athlete aid, we are committed to enhancing injury management and prevention in high-contact minor sports leagues across North America that lack on site-medical services, like athletic therapists. Our software acts as a sports triage service that provides young athletes with game-time decisions on whether they can continue playing without worsening their injury. Based on their symptoms, our app uses AI to pull from our database, providing individuals with a diagnosis, recommendations and rehab.

  • Third place | $1,000 | MapMyBus – University of New Brunswick

    The school bus system in New Brunswick is unable to provide accurate and timely reporting, leading to uncertainty for both parents and school administrators. MapMyBus aims to solve these problems through bus tracking software.


  • First place | $5,000 | BeBlended – University of Waterloo
    BeBlended is an online marketplace that connects Black clients with freelance hairstylists that can work on afro-curly hair textures. Hairstylists receive access to a tailored client base, hairstyling gigs and a platform that manages all back-office business operations. Overall, both clients and hairstylists are met with a variety of tailored software tools and resources to enhance their experience within the Black hair care industry.

  • Second place | $2,000 | Swish – University of Waterloo and Technical University of Munich
    Dust accumulation on solar panels reduces its efficiency by 60% and in 2020 it resulted in a revenue loss of $5 Billion. Currently, you can either clean the solar panels using fresh water, which is a massive waste of water or you can use cleaning robots which are very expensive. The solar panel cleaning market is worth $70 billion. At 'Swish' we are developing a cost-effective product to clean solar panels in a sustainable and economical way without the use of water or expensive cleaning robots.

  • Third place | $1,000 | Yellowbird Diagnostics – University of Ottawa

    Yellowbird Diagnostics, Inc. specializes in biomedical imaging solutions across commonly used clinical imaging techniques. Our imaging solutions aim to embolden physicians with actionable diagnostic information earlier in to the onset of disease, while seamlessly integrating into existing clinical workflows.


  • First place | $6,000 | Aruna Revolution – Nova Scotia
    Aruna creates compostable menstrual pads using natural fibers extracted from local food and crop waste. Aruna sustainably, locally manufactures to provide affordable, body and planet-friendly menstrual care. We'll divert 20B menstrual products from landfills annually in North America and repurposing local agricultural waste that otherwise releases GHGs. Our commitment to sustainability and safety sets us apart from competitors, embodying true model of circular economy and community-based sustainability.

  • Second place | $2,000 | Altheda Wellness Innovation – Nova Scotia

    Altheda is a natural product company focused on delivering education and products designed to proactively promote and maintain healthy aging. By bridging the gap between science, nature, and medicine, our team of scientists and health experts have created a suite of innovative products supporting optimal health and wellness as you age. Our products and educational pieces are intended to target following areas of need as our bodies age: brain, eyes, bladder, skin and immune system health.

  • Second place | $2,000 | Parados – New Brunswick
    We use computer vision AI to turn your phone into a motion capture system.

  • First place | $1,000 | Foodage – University of Waterloo
    Foodage enables restaurants to optimize staffing and reduce waste by predicting future demand. Despite restaurants contributing 4% of Canada's GDP, they consistently battle slim profit margins. Foodage uses Machine Learning software that integrates with restaurants Point of Sales systems to analyze historical sales and combine it with external factors (weather, events nearby, trends etc) to enhance forecasting accuracy. This unique approach provides a preventative solution to waste and staffing.

  • Second place | $500 | Aruna Revolution – Nova Scotia
    Aruna creates compostable menstrual pads using natural fibers extracted from local food and crop waste. Aruna sustainably, locally manufactures to provide affordable, body and planet-friendly menstrual care. We'll divert 20B menstrual products from landfills annually in North America and repurposing local agricultural waste that otherwise releases GHGs. Our commitment to sustainability and safety sets us apart from competitors, embodying true model of circular economy and community-based sustainability.

  • Third place | $250 | ReSpool – St. Francis Xavier University

    ReSpool - 2nd Cycle Filament addresses the linear economy prevalent in the 3D printing industry and by creating a circular economy turns 3D printing into a zero-waste process. ReSpool strategically targets educational institutions and public libraries as they prioritize sustainability. They are not only consumers but also suppliers of waste from 3D printing which ReSpool turns into "2nd Cycle Filament". ReSpool is dedicated to making a positive change on the environment and society.

  • Viewer’s choice best elevator pitch | $250 | Themis Core – University of New Brunswick
    Our venture, ThemisCore, pioneers the fusion of law and cutting-edge AI technology within the legal tech landscape. Leveraging innovative AI algorithms, we empower legal professionals with swift access to nuanced case insights. Our platform gathers and filters vast legal data so lawyers don't have to manually go through tons of databases. We also offer up to date tailored summaries and detailed information to each firms needs and jurisdiction while preserving user privacy.


  • BAUS Business Planning and Entrepreneurship Award | $500 | MapMyBus – University of New Brunswick
    The school bus system in New Brunswick is unable to provide accurate and timely reporting, leading to uncertainty for both parents and school administrators. MapMyBus aims to solve these problems through bus tracking software.

  • Entrepreneurial Powerhouse Award | $500 | BeBlended – University of Waterloo
    BeBlended is an online marketplace that connects Black clients with freelance hairstylists that can work on afro-curly hair textures. Hairstylists receive access to a tailored client base, hairstyling gigs and a platform that manages all back-office business operations. Overall, both clients and hairstylists are met with a variety of tailored software tools and resources to enhance their experience within the Black hair care industry.

  • McInnes Cooper Legal Services Package | Chick Pick – New Brunswick
    Chick Pick uses machine learning and computer vision to automate the chick-sorting process in chicken hatcheries.

  • Social Enterprise Award | $500 | EmployNXT – Nova Scotia
    Welcome to EmployNXT, where innovation meets diversity in the world of hiring. We're not just a platform; we're your strategic partner in reshaping the future of recruitment. With AI-enabled technology and GPT power at our core, EmployNXT stands as an industry trailblazer, offering an end-to-end solution for diversity hiring. For employers, we are the catalyst for change, revolutionizing hiring processes by automating 90% of the journey and boosting team efficiency by a remarkable 60%.

  • Rising Star Award | $500 | ReSpool – St. Francis Xavier University
    ReSpool - 2nd Cycle Filament addresses the linear economy prevalent in the 3D printing industry and by creating a circular economy turns 3D printing into a zero-waste process. ReSpool strategically targets educational institutions and public libraries as they prioritize sustainability. They are not only consumers but also suppliers of waste from 3D printing which ReSpool turns into "2nd Cycle Filament". ReSpool is dedicated to making a positive change on the environment and society.

  • Startup Innovation Award | $500 | Aruna Revolution – Nova Scotia
    Aruna creates compostable menstrual pads using natural fibers extracted from local food and crop waste. Aruna sustainably, locally manufactures to provide affordable, body and planet-friendly menstrual care. We'll divert 20B menstrual products from landfills annually in North America and repurposing local agricultural waste that otherwise releases GHGs. Our commitment to sustainability and safety sets us apart from competitors, embodying true model of circular economy and community-based sustainability.


The experience

The Apex experience extends beyond the competitive events, where competitors will be engaged in training workshops, networking opportunities with judges, potential investors and future employers.

  • Pre-competition mentorship on pitching and networking
  • Live practice rounds with experienced coaches
  • Minimum of two opportunities to present per team
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks both days
  • Networking opportunities to meet investors
  • Friday awards reception and dinner

Two competition tracks

This is the traditional Apex competition track for graduate or undergraduate students. Judges, entrepreneurs and business leaders mentor students making their first step as entrepreneurs.

  • Divided into two streams: Undergraduate teams and graduate teams
  • $20,000 in cash prizes and awards
  • Deliverables: 10-minute investor pitch presentation, executive summary, financials and 60-second elevator pitch
  • Travel subsidy of up to $500 per team available
  • No fees to apply or compete

For early-stage, scalable ventures looking to accelerate their growth to the next stage. Open to graduates, non-students and students running early-stage ventures. Judges play the role of investors.

  • Early stage ventures in any sector eligible
  • $10,000 in non-dilutive cash prizes
  • Deliverables:10 minute investor pitch presentation, executive summary, financials and 60 second elevator pitch
  • No fees to apply or competed

Event details

Student track

  • Actively enrolled full or part-time students and recent graduates in a post-secondary institution anywhere in the world. All team members cannot have graduated before May 1, 2023.
  • Any degree program.
  • Apply as an individual or in a team of up to four members.
  • Teams may be comprised of students from different post-secondary institutions.
  • Teams are required to compete in the track dictated by the highest educational level in the group. For example, if a team consists of two undergraduate members and one graduate member, the team is required to compete at the graduate level.

New venture track

  • Apply individually or in a team consisting of a maximum of four members.
  • Teams consisting of students may apply, but it is up to the applicants to determine if they are better suited for the undergraduate or graduate track. Teams may apply for only one track.
  • Revenue is less than one million dollars per year (CAD).
  • Fewer than 25 employees.
  • Venture is less than three-years old.

Selection

This is a competitive event. A panel will review all applications and select the top participants to present in the BMO Apex Startup Challenge.


Executive summary

A one-page (maximum) executive summary. Examples to use as a guide: Syracuse University, Seattle University, Rice University

Financials

Financial projections for a three-year period in any format that best demonstrates your venture’s financial potential.

Investment presentation slides

PowerPoint or Keynote slide deck, 10-15 slides. Presentations are maximum of ten minutes, plus ten minutes question and answer period. A good guide for your investment presentation is the Kawasaki pitch deck or Sequoia pitch deck.

Elevator pitch

60-second verbal pitch. No slide deck. Pitch delivered behind a podium with a mic to a large audience. No question and answer period.

Timing of deliverables

When your team applies, you will submite your executive summary, financials and investment presentation slides. If you are accepted to compete, you may submit an updated executive summary and financials up to Jan. 19. You will bring your final investment presentation with you to Apex, which may be updated before and at any time during the event. You elevator pitch does not need to be submitted at any time.  


Investment presentation prizes

Student track: Undergraduate

  • First place: $5,000
  • Second place: $2,000
  • Third place: $1,000

Student track: Graduate

  • First place: $5,000
  • Second place: $2,000
  • Third place: $1,000

New venture track

$10,000 is allocated to up to three teams at the judges’ discretion.

Elevator pitch prizes

  • First place: $1,000
  • Second place: $500
  • Third place: $250
  • Viewer’s choice: $250

Theme awards

Five additional awards of $500 will be provided to teams.


Location

The BMO Apex Startup Challenge will be held at the Wu Conference Centre at the University of New Brunswick.

Travel subsidy

In addition to group rates on a downtown Fredericton hotel, Apex provides cash travel subsidies of up to $500 to teams traveling from outside Fredericton. Your university may also provide their own travel subsidy.

Schedule

Final schedule to be provided in January 2024.

Thursday, Jan. 25

  • 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Practice and qualifier rounds
  • 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Lunch break
  • 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. | Qualifier round continues
  • 7 p.m. | Finalists announced
  • 5:30 - 7 p.m. | Elevator pitch competition

Friday, Jan. 26

  • 9 - 11: 50 a.m. | Wildcard round
  • 1:30 - 4 p.m. | Final round
  • 6 - 8:30 p.m. | Dinner and awards announcements

  • Nov. 15, 2023 | 11:59 p.m. AT | Early bird application deadline (draw for $250)
  • Dec. 1, 2023 | 11:59 p.m. AT | Final application deadline
  • Dec. 11, 2023 | Teams selected to compete announced
  • Dec. 18, 2023 | Teams commit to attend
  • Jan. 11, 2024 | Virtual workshop: "Preparing the Investment Slide Deck and Preparing your Elevator Pitch”
  • Jan. 18, 2024 | Virtual workshop: "Apex orientation and networking 101"
  • Jan 19, 2024 | Deadline to submit revised financials and/or executive summary (Optional)
  • Jan. 25 and 26, 2024 | BMO Apex Startup Challenge at UNB

One member of your team should be the main contact throughout Apex. This team member completes the online application by:

  1. Reading the complete Apex competitor's guidebook
  2. Completing the survey questions
  3. Uploading your draft investment presentation slide deck (The slide deck you submit on the application does not have to be your final and may be updated for your presentations at Apex)
  4. Uploading your company logo (JPG or PNG version)
  5. Uploading your company summary (50 - 100 word synopsis of your startup)

There are no fees to apply or to compete (teams must cover their own travel costs to attend). Once an application is submitted, no changes can be made.

Apply now

Selection process

Entry into the BMO Apex Startup Challenge is competitive. Thirty teams (ten undergraduate teams, ten graduate teams and ten new venture teams) will be selected from all applications to compete in January.

Invitation to compete

On Dec. 11, 2023 teams selected to compete will be contacted with an invitation to compete at Apex.

Confirmation to compete

Invited teams will have until Dec. 18, 2023 to confirm their participation.


Become a judge or sponsor

The Apex Startup Challenge would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors.

We are seeking funding for Apex to enhance the overall experience for the participants by providing prizes, networking events and meals.

We invite you and your organization to take part in the Apex experience as a judge and a participant in all our networking events. All sponsors will receive promotional opportunities to showcase your organization, with additional benefits available based on donation amounts.

Get in front of students and real ventures – promote your name, potential to work together down the road and make connections.

Sponsorship package

We also welcome individuals interesting in judging to contact us ibec@unb.ca.

Contact us

International Business & Entrepreneurship Centre
Faculty of Management
University of New Brunswick
9 Macaulay Lane, Tilley Hall

Email ibec@unb.ca