Pitching event at Waterfront showcases digital entrepreneurs

Photo of Lily Tse at Waterfront campus. Photo: Preeteesh Peetabh Singh/The Dialog

Lily Tse’s app Think Dirty has been popular among consumers looking to use safe, non-toxic cosmetics. Photo: Preeteesh Peetabh Singh/The Dialog

Gone are the days when a digital sports watch was a prized possession. Today, digital technology plays a humongous role in shaping our lives, it is everywhere.

Toronto Digifest 2014, aims to showcase works of innovators and entrepreneurs of the digital world which might prove to become handy tools of the modern society. Digital urbanism and future of cities is the theme for the upcoming festival.

Digifest 2014 announced the opening of its second annual It’s a Start pitch competition, Presented by George Brown College (GBC) in partnership with Corus Entertainment, at the Waterfront campus on Oct. 30.

The competition is open to start-up companies, professionals, entrepreneurs, students and recent graduates from all over the world who are looking to pitch their creative ideas in front of a jury consisting of industry leaders and venture capitalists.

“It’s a great opportunity for all the entrepreneurs to get their ideas funded and win some cash or space at the incubators,” said festival project manager Alice Lee.

The winners of the competition will be awarded space in GBC’s Digital Media and Gaming Incubator and OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst Incubator in addition to a cash prize which is yet to be announced.

Last year’s winner Lily Tse stressed the need for more participation and involvement of women entrepreneurs this time around. “I was the only woman competing with nine men in the finals last year. We need more women entrepreneurs,” said Tse.

Tse’s winning app Think Dirty helps consumers to learn about potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products such as soap, shampoo, body lotion, face cream, toothpaste, deodorant or cosmetics and enables them to select a better option. Smartphone users just have to scan the barcode or the products to see the results. Think Dirty is available in Apple’s App Store

“I hope to see more apps that solve problems concerning health, education, equality and environment. It should be meaningful and not just another game,” said Tse who was also one of the recipients of 2013 Spin Master Innovation fund with a start-up package of $50,000.

“Do we need another Facebook or Twitter or Candy Crush? Probably not.” said Tse.

It’s a Start committee which includes experts from industry; academia and finance will use originality, marketability, market readiness, user friendliness, creativity and design, feasibility and probability of success as criteria to determine the finalists for the competition.

Last year’s competition jury member Giancarlo De Lio said, “It has to be something that stands out; little bit different. We have to look at the investment side, product development, and overall market development.”

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 17, 2014 and the competition will take place from May 8-10, where all finalists will be pitching their ideas in front of a jury and live audience at the Corus Quay building located at Toronto’s waterfront.

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Pitching event at Waterfront showcases digital entrepreneurs