Financial Prize Guideline for Entrepreneurs & Early Startups

What do I need before I can begin?

No information is required to begin. Please reach out to a contact within the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) listed below if you have questions.


The purpose of the Guideline for the Administration of Financial Prizes for Entrepreneurs and Startup Companies is to create a framework for those seeking to support entrepreneurial students, trainees and startups at the University of Toronto (U of T) through the provision and administration of direct funding.

Such funding is provided on a competitive basis.  It encourages eligible applicants to develop creative proposals that require them to consider and analyze various aspects of their proposed business, including the socioeconomic benefits.

Below are some key elements of the Guideline.


Individual entrepreneurs and startup companies that meet the following criteria are eligible to receive prize funds at U of T.

  1. Individual entrepreneurs must be a current U of T student or trainee
  2. Startup companies
    1. The startup company must be a newly (less than 3 years) incorporated entity registered in the province of Ontario and/or federally registered in Canada
    2. The commercial products or services of the company should enable socioeconomic benefits to the public and be consistent with the academic and research mission of the university as a public institution
    3. The company must have a relationship to the university which could include any of the following.
      1. The company is based on U of T intellectual property (IP) or other research and scholarly results
      2. Founders include a current U of T faculty, trainee, or student
      3. Founders include a recent (less than 2 year) U of T alumni
    4. The company must be actively affiliated with a U of T-based entrepreneurship program (i.e. Impact Centre, Hatchery, UTEST, The Hub, ICUBE, CDL, DCSIL, H2i, Start@UTIAS, The Bridge)


Prize funds for entrepreneurship support purposes are provided as awards and are not expected to be associated with any exchange of goods or services, investment terms, equity, repayment or any other commercial considerations. While there may be a report required of the recipient on the outcomes, there is no requirement for an accounting or financial report.

The value of any single award and/or any cumulative award to one individual or company shall not exceed $50,000. Under exceptional circumstances, the U of T Entrepreneurship Management Committee may approve an award with a higher value.

Payments to a corporation will be administered through U of T’s Financial Services. The university will not provide a taxation receipt or other guidance as to how the company should administer or report on the prize funds.

Payments to individuals will be made as prizes and will be managed in accordance with University policies.

Prize Fund Adjudication

Without limiting the areas of entrepreneurship support, prize funds may include support for proof-of-concept prototypes, intellectual property protection, recruitment of team members, development of business models, and market testing.

Prize funds from the University to an individual or company must undergo a transparent and multi-person adjudication process. Any unit administering a prize fund must develop a process that is aligned with this guideline, and provide a report to the U of T Entrepreneurship Management Committee including the details of a prize competition, adjudication process and outcomes.  Contact information for U of T Entrepreneurship is below in the VPRI Contact section.

For more information, please read the full Guideline for the Administration of Financial Prizes for Entrepreneurs and Startup Companies.

Forms & Downloads


  • Support the administration of funding for U of T entrepreneurs and startups

VPRI Contact


Other Resources