$100k Black Entrepreneurship Investment Prize

We’re announcing for the very first time a $100k investment prize dedicated solely to Black entrepreneurs and founders! We’re teaming up with FACE, Groupe 3737 and Rep Matters to bring together an incredible team of angel investors and award one Black-led startup with a $100k investment. The winning startup will walk away with an important investment, and access to an amazing network of investors.

Any Black-led startup in attendance can win this prize, and it’s in addition to the Startupfest $100k Best of the Fest Investment Prize and $100k Women in Tech Investment Prize. That means a Black, female founder could walk away with $300k in investment if they win over the judges of all three investment prizes!

Eligibility Criteria

The $100k Black Entrepreneurship Investment Prize is open to any Black-led startup in attendance. For the purposes of this prize, we define a Black-led startup as a startup with the most senior member of the executive team being a Black leader.

There’s no application process, no form to fill out, and no video to prepare. You just need to register, get onsite, and be ready to wow our Black Entrepreneurship Investor Judges with a superb pitch that makes the cut. Register for Startupfest if you haven’t already done so!

The Process

Startups have until the end of day on Thursday, July 14th—the second day of Startupfest—to deliver their pitch. They can do so in the language of their choice, but please be aware that since Startupfest attracts investors from across the country and around the world, many of them only speak English.

How do I pitch?

Your goal over the first two days is to get at least one of the judges to shortlist your Startup:

  • Judges will be roaming the Tent Village and can be found at the $100K Black Entrepreneurship prize tent. Be sure to visit the Village so you connect with as many judges as possible—after all, it just takes one judge for you to make the shortlist.
  • Our judges are wearing an Investor Judge badge and a green lanyard to make them easy to identify and pitch everywhere onsite. You probably want to avoid doing it in a bathroom, but everywhere else is fair game!

What happens next?

On Friday, July 15th–the final day of Startupfest—the Judges are based exclusively in the Tent Village listening to additional pitches and calling back shortlisted Startups for a Q&A meeting.

By 4PM the Investor Judges will have selected the winner to be announced during the closing ceremonies.

Prize Details

The $100k Black Entrepreneurship Investment Prize is an investment from up to 10 angel investors. Our default terms are based on an industry-standard convertible note (for reference, please see this standard convertible loan agreement). The winning startup will sign the convertible note with each of the investors individually. The investors are willing to create a voting trust, if and when the convertible note converts to equity.

The winning startup will also receive free access to legal services from Fasken and can choose to opt-in the ViaFasken program to get one year of legal support.

Think these terms shouldn’t apply to you? Need a tweak? We can discuss that. While we adopt industry standard agreements for the sake of simplicity, the judges are willing to discuss alternate terms proposed by shortlisted Startups during their meeting on Friday, July 15.

Meet the Judges

Melissa Allen

Melissa Allen began her career in digital marketing first interning at Foreign Affairs Canada in Paris, France, and then working with tech companies such as Torstar Digital and Google, before pivoting to an award-winning career in financial services at Desjardins.

Combining her passions for tech and finance, Melissa became an angel investor and Limited Partner in 2019 and after selling her financial practice in 2020, began lending her expertise in advisory and leadership roles at startups such as Alo Solutions and Bay Mills before joining the League of Innovators as the Executive Director and LOI Venture as a Venture Partner…all while starting her own angel fund, Capital M, to invest in diverse Canadian founders!

Didier Boucard

Didier Boucard is a senior consultant in data governance. He has over twenty years of experience in project management/analysis, working at Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, among others. He also developed team management skills while working on hedge fund software with the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, Didier Boucard has contributed to the creation of a medical clinic, an institute for health professionals and a technology start-up. His belief in the talent and goodwill of the Afro-descendant communities has led him to work tirelessly to improve communication between the English, French, Caribbean and African diaspora communities and society at large. This willingness to bring people together and to converse has allowed him to connect individuals and organizations working in many fields, including education, law, business, as well as professionals from the private sector and community groups.

Frank Baylis

Frank Baylis is presently the executive chairman of Baylis Medical Technologies. 

From October 2015 to October 2019 he was Liberal Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard. Frank sat on the Industry Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ethics & Privacy Committee. He was the chair of the Canada-UK Parliamentary Association and a founding member of the Black Caucus. 

Prior to being elected Frank Baylis was President of Baylis Medical Company from 1989 to 2015. During that period Baylis Medical grew into a major Canadian developer and manufacturer of medical devices. The company sold in 2021 to Boston Scientific for $1.75 Billion USD. In 2011 he and his partner Kris Shah won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Life Sciences section. In 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Baylis Medical was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. 

In 2004 Frank launched the company charity For the Children (FTC) with the goal of improving access to education for children both in Canada and internationally. This has now grown into the Gloria Baylis Foundation. 

He is a Professional Engineer with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Maudeleine Myrthil

Ms. Myrthil is one of 100 women entrepreneurs selected by Femmessor as part of their “100 Women Changing the World” campaign. In addition, her services were retained to serve on the expert panel as part of the strategies launched by the federal government in 2019 to increase the number of women entrepreneurs. She holds a master’s degree in business administration for executives from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a bachelor’s degree in management from the HEC. As Director of Entrepreneurship at Groupe 3737, her mandate is to support and equip entrepreneurs to enable them to live their passion while generating revenue through their organization. Her goal is to help businesses and organizations, especially those from a diverse background, to contribute to the economic development of Canada and to shine at the international level.

Frantz Saintellemy

Frantz Saintellemy is an internationally recognized expert in advanced technologies with 25 years of experience in automotive, IoT, sensing, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence. An entrepreneur, angel investor and mentor, he is currently President and COO of LeddarTech, a leader in automotive ADAS and AD, fusion and perception software technologies.  He is the 14th Chancellor and Chair of the Board at the University of Montreal.

Mr. Saintellemy is co-founder and Chair of the board at Groupe 3737, a non-profit organization that is an entrepreneurial innovation hub. G3737 helps entrepreneurs and tech companies start, grow, and succeed, with the strategic objective of developing more entrepreneurs, creating more successful companies, more jobs and sustainable financial independence. G3737 is an inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial innovation hub that provides unique services and support to visible minority founders.

Mr. Saintellemy has successfully founded or co-founded several start-ups with multiple exits and has published several patents and papers.  In addition to his angel investing and mentorship to entrepreneurs, he sits on several boards and committees including APMA, AQT, MNBAQ, Sharethrough, and is a founding member of Quebec’s Innovation Board.

An experienced public speaker with over 800 conferences and keynotes across the globe on technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, and more recently on his newly developed leadership growth series the “Competitive Fitness™” and “Horizontal Growth™”.

Louis Edgar Jean Francois

A member of the Order of Chartered Professional Accountants of Quebec, he is the architect and strategist behind the creation and implementation of the support ecosystem for Groupe 3737. His mandate is clear: to sustain the organization.

He is doing it: setting up the structure; establishment/confirmation of strategic partnerships; realization of reciprocal collaborations; obtaining funding; and creation/consolidation of self-generated revenue streams, etc.

Formerly of Deloitte, Bombardier and RDS, he founded in 2009 an accounting and legal services firm which, following his arrival at 3737, experienced great growth along with other companies. He wants to help others do the same and promote large-scale job creation. Affectionaly called “Baby 3737”, he has been a direct witness and actor in its evolution from the beginning. G3737 has supported more than 1,200 entrepreneurs, helped create more than 700 jobs, contributed to the development of more than 100 companies in its infrastructure and participated in the collective generation of more than 180 million dollars by the companies supported.

With a view to developing organizations/enterprises, it has secured federal investments to support black communities in the province of Quebec with a fund that currently stands at $175 million. He initiated and actively contributed to the federal government’s confirmation of direct and significant sources of funding today of $272 million for entrepreneurs from black communities in Canada, communities hard hit by COVID-19. He is the co-founder of a coalition of organizations that manages a portion of this amount, F.A.C.E. coalition, and is the chairman of the board of directors.

Urbain Kengni

​​Urbain Kengni is a people leader at Workday and sits on the board of directors of two Canadian companies. 

He has over fifteen years of experience in management consulting, deal advisory, project management and software engineering working for companies including KPMG, Bombardier and LG Electronics. He has accompanied and trained professionals from public and private organizations in project structuring, PPP partnership and deal financing.

In the past few years, Urbain took his passion for investment and advisory to help Canadian start-ups such as Ubenwa, Actionis Inc, and Sheno Services to successfully raise funding or grow operations.

In the entrepreneurship world, Urbain’s goals are threefold: connect entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to existing non-financial and financial resources, help grow the black investors community, and have fun.

Prize Manager

Phil G. Joseph

After spending years intrigued by the technology he was using to train and rehabilitate athletes, Phil decided to transition from keeping athletes on the field, to keeping tech entrepreneurs in the game. In 2020, he partnered with Real Ventures to create Rep Matters, an interview series that highlights Black entrepreneurs and investors, and joined Real Ventures as an associate in 2021. In this role, he supports all of the firm’s investment activities, and is always looking to connect with amazing founders. Outside of work, Phil spends his time coaching and mentoring youth, playing basketball, or finding his next outdoor adventure.