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Faculty of Management
UNB Fredericton

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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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.

Applications will open Sept. 30, 2023.

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

Contact us

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