Welcome to Canada’s Business Model Competition® 2017!

Join us on March 10th – 11th 2017 in Halifax Nova Scotia for the third edition of Canada’s Business Model Competition ®.

The competition is hosted and organized by Launch Dal, an initiative of the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship in collaboration with Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business. Canada’s Business Model Competition ® has been sanctioned as the national qualifier competition for the International Business Model Competition with the winner advancing to the International Business Model  Competition (other contenders may still apply through the general application found on the IBMC Apply page).

The winners of Canada’s Business Model Competition ® will share in $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes generously provided by our partner Deloitte Canada.

What is Canada’s Business Model Competition ®?

Over 85 percent of new businesses fail within a few years, often because they try to plan their way to success. What’s worse, research suggests that writing a business plan has no correlation with success. It’s time to change. Canada’s Business Model Competition ® represents a radical departure from the past and the crest of a new paradigm in entrepreneurship.

The CBMC is not a business plan competition. Participants won’t be rewarded for doing lots of library research, drawing fancy graphs, or crafting the perfect sales pitch to venture capitalists. Instead the CBMC rewards students for 1) breaking down their idea into the key business model hypotheses, 2) getting outside the building and testing their assumptions with customers, 3) applying Customer Development / Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the solution, and 4) learning to pivot (or change) until they have a customer-validated business model.

Ultimately we believe this will dramatically improve the new student’s chances of success. The CBMC is Canada’s official national qualifier competitions for the International Business Model Competition, the first international competition of its kind and is open to all students enrolled at an accredited four-year institution of higher education anywhere in the world.

How does a business model differ from a traditional Business plan?

Canada’s Business Model Competition ® is about recognizing that any new venture is just a guess at a problem /solution and the only valid way to test whether those guesses are right is to “get outside the building” and start working with customers. So what exactly is the difference between a business model and a business plan?

  • Outside versus Inside the Building: Most business plans are written using library research. Successful business models are achieved through talking to customers and making changes based on feedback from those conversations.
  • Input versus Output Focus: Most business plan competitions are focused on compelling write-ups and slide presentations that check all the right boxes. In the CBMC, sleek presentations are not going to cut it. And the boxes that do need to be checked are completely new and impossible to fake. The goal is to identify your assumptions and turn the hypotheses to facts by getting outside the building. And when a startup has done this, the story is compelling and it is an awesome one to tell because it is based on facts. Validated learning about what customers really want is the stuff a business model is made of and music to the ears of potential investors.
  • Lean Development versus Product Development: Most business plans imply a careful development process to optimize the final outcome. Forget it. Apply Lean Startup principles to radically compress your development cycle and take a prototype (even if it is just a picture drawn in the late hours of the night) to jump start the learning process. Find the most creative but minimally viable product and start learning.
  • Change versus Fortify: Most business plans attempt to fortify/prove the core idea with evidence. Judges of the CBMC will be looking for instances where teams learned they were wrong and made a pivot in a new and right direction. Your application should focus on the lessons learned and “pivots”made—the more the better.
  • Chasing Customers versus Chasing Funding: Let’s face it,many business plans are written to raise money. Unfortunately the business plan formula doesn’t capture the answers VCs most want to see: real validation you can make a product customers want. Instead of chasing the money, chase customers.Getting into the field you will validate the model and raising money will be easy (see appendix for more).
  • Launching versus Talking: Business plans often talk about what will happen in the future. The CBMC is about what you learned by applying a Customer Development / Lean Startup/ Nail It then Scale It process.

Contact Us: 




Dalhousie University 
6100 University Avenue
Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2


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