Entrepreneurship is often a difficult undertaking, as a vast majority of new businesses fail. Entrepreneurs also generally start solo, sometimes working part-time. When it comes to raising financing, many entrepreneurs today don’t know where to start. Most are interested in receiving funds from venture capital or angel investors but not know how and what stage they should approach these. Fortunately there are some government agencies and organizations like TiE are working to support the would be entrepreneur. TiE started TiEQuest in 2005 with the purpose of spawning businesses. TiEQuest helps bridge the gap between up-and-coming business people and the investment industry. This competition helps generate new ventures and gives entrepreneurs the encouragement and the support to turn their dreams into reality.
TiEQuest is an annual business venture competition held in Toronto to encourage entrepreneurship, engage emerging entrepreneurial talent and to foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founded in 2005, the mission of TiEQuest is to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors, venture capitalists and fund managers.
TiEQuest attracts over 200 entrepreneurs every year. The contestants include existing and emerging entrepreneurs, patent holders and/or applicants, university students and alumni across North America. TiEQuest offers over $150,000 in prizes to the winners. To encourage participation of youth, TiEQuest offers the New Entrepreneur Prize to the best student team. In addition the top teams also have an opportunity to win up to $1,000,000 investment from sponsors.
TiEQuest has over 25 success stories, where the contestants were able to take their business idea to successful enterprises, which have obtained financing, signed partnerships, acquired customers and generated revenues. The contestants see value in participating in the competition as it offers networking opportunities with leading entrepreneurs and investors, recognition with investment, legal and accounting firms, opportunity to practice the process of pitching their venture to investors, and opportunity to turn an innovative idea into a real businesses.
“We were connected with an advisor who challenged us and helped us refine our business plan.” says Cognovision Solutions Inc., TiEQuest alumni and winner of Most Innovative Company at the 2009 Canadian Innovation Exchange.
“TiEQuest promotes an entrepreneurial climate that stimulates new ideas and collaboration, which are key contributors to the development of groundbreaking products and services” says Hon. Harinder Takhar, Minister of Government Services
TiEQuest is different from other business plan competitions as it offers mentoring to the contestants. We connect contestants with industry experts, successful entrepreneurs and professional advisors. As mentors, TiE charter members introduce contacts and insights on where to go. TiEQuest enhances the opportunity for obtaining financing. We have 30+ venture capitalists, angel investors, fund managers and other business leaders acts as judges. The participants get an opportunity to present to the investors. In addition, the sponsoring funds offer expression of interest to the top teams. The competition is designed to go through multiple stages to help polish business idea and promote networking opportunities. The judging criteria include value proposition, marketability, viability, management strengths and investibility.
“Various prizes received in TiEQuest have helped us to raise new money and guide us through numerous hurdles during our commercialization efforts.” says Liquid Fiber Displays Inc. Winner of TiEQuest 2008
“TiEQuest provided us a great platform to explore venture financing. It has given us the interest of some of the big players and a visibility to secure better terms.” says Echologics Engineering Inc., Winner of TiEQuest 2007
TiEQuest is organized by TiE Toronto, a chapter of global, not-for-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship. TiE provides a platform for mentoring, networking and education. TiE’s mission is to foster and advance entrepreneurship across the globe. Its principle objective is to provide a platform on which people with entrepreneurial spirit and those interested in economic value creation can come together to share ideas. TiE endeavors to cultivate and nurture the ecosystems of entrepreneurship as it sees this to be the single most powerful instrument of prosperity.
TiE was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently more than 16,000 members and over 2,500 charter members in 53 chapters across the globe. TiE charter members comprise of leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, fund managers, CXOs and professionals advisors. TiE regular members are aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.
TiEQuest 2010 is now accepting applications. Visit www.tiequest.org for details.
Author: Suresh Madan is the President of TiE Toronto and Chair of TiEQuest Business Venture Competition