Student Pitch Competition

What is HEQCO’s Student Pitch Competition?

Each year, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) hosts an annual conference that brings together postsecondary professionals and students to discuss key challenges facing the sector. As an agency of the Ontario government, HEQCO brings evidence-based research to the continued improvement of the province’s postsecondary education system.

Building on last year’s access theme, our upcoming conference, Access in Practice: Putting great ideas to work, focuses on turning theory into practice to equip participants with the strategies to adapt, build, implement and assess initiatives that work for their students and their institutions.

This year, HEQCO is excited to provide a new platform for you, to share your ideas through our first-ever Student Pitch Competition. Similar to hackathons and case competitions, the pitch competition invites you to come up with an innovative idea or solution that addresses a key barrier facing students during their postsecondary education experience. The Pitch Competition is an exciting opportunity to share your insights and practical solutions with leaders in government, non-profit and postsecondary institutions to the challenges you and your peers routinely face.

All postsecondary students currently enrolled in college, university or apprenticeship programs are invited to participate.

The competition will take place over two rounds. Round One will be a one-day event, held on March 24, 2018 at two locations — Toronto and Thunder Bay.

Two teams from each location will advance to Round Two and will present their pitch to a wider audience at HEQCO’s Access in Practice Conference on April 4, 2018 in Toronto. The judges will select the winning team, which will receive an exciting grand prize!

The pitch competition gives you an opportunity to share your ideas on how to address some of the vexing problems facing students, while developing essential skills to help you in your academic and professional careers. By participating in the pitch competition, you will:

Important Dates

Applications and Registration

Applicants who are selected to participate in Round One will be notified by email starting March 12, 2018 and will be expected to register for the first round of the competition by March 16, 2018.

Student Resources
Successful applicants will receive resources on March 19, 2018 in advance of the competition. Although not required reading, these resources in addition to your own experiences as a student, will give you a sense of the broader postsecondary landscape in Ontario and some of the challenges facing students.

Round One: Competition Day
Teams will be introduced and will receive the prompt. Participants will have four hours to develop a creative, innovative and feasible pitch to present to the judges.

The First Round of the Competition will take place at the following locations:

Bahen Centre for Information and Technology, University of Toronto | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, reception to follow | Saturday, March 24, 2018
Confirmed Judges

Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University
Janelle Joseph, Director, Academic Success Centre
and the Assistant Director, Transitional Year Programme (TYP), University of Toronto
Mehnaz Tabassum, Success Advisor, Centennial College
Chirag Variawa, Director, First Year Curriculum and
Assistant Professor Teaching- Stream, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto

Thunder Bay
Confederation College | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, reception to follow | Saturday, March 24, 2018
Confirmed Judges

Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO, Northern Policy
Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation, Lakehead University
Rebecca Johnson, Councillor-at-Large, City of Thunder Bay
Shane Strickland, Dean, School of Health, Negahneewin and Community Services, Confederation College

Round Two: Competition Day
Round Two of the competition will take place on April 4, 2018 from 2:00-3:00 pm as part of HEQCO’s Access Conference in Toronto at the Delta Hotel. Finalists from Round One will have their conference registration fees covered by HEQCO and are invited to attend the full two-day event. Winners will be announced at the Participants’ Reception from 4:30-6:00 PM.

Confirmed Judges

Sheldon Levy, CEO, NEXT Canada
Toni Morgan, Founder, Beat Academy
Greg Orencsak, Deputy Minister, Advanced Education and Skills Development
Wayne Poirier, Vice-President Student and Alumni Services, Mohawk College

Frequently Asked Questions