Ignite Fund

The Ignite Fund invests in Memorial University students interested in advancing the growth of an innovative business idea.

Participants apply to the fund, the top applicants will be selected to submit a 3-minute pitch audio/video to a panel of judges, then a limited number of finalists will be awarded $2,000!

The Details


To be considered eligible for the Ignite Fund, the applicant/teams must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a Memorial student or the team is mainly comprised of Memorial students. The competition is open to students from any of Memorial University’s schools and faculties. Students from the College of the North Atlantic and other non-students are eligible to be part of a competing team if they otherwise adhere to the eligibility criteria and the team they are on. This applies as long as the team is both led by and comprised mainly of Memorial students. If the business idea is under an incorporated business (which is not required for this competition), Memorial student(s) need to own at least 50 percent of the company.
  2. The applicant(s) must have not received government or private funding in excess of $20,000 for the business idea. Self or family funding is acceptable.
  3. The applicant, or at least one team member, must have attended a minimum of one meeting with a Start-up Coach at MCE. This meeting is intended to help your business become eligible for MCE funding. (You can book your meeting here)
  4. The applicant(s) must be located in Newfoundland and Labrador or have their startup incorporated in the province. 

While these eligibility criteria provide general parameters, eligibility will ultimately be determined at the sole discretion of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Competition Criteria

All applications will be judged based on the following aspects:

  • The entrepreneur/team (work accomplished to build the lean canvas, coachability, and diversity of skills);
  • The idea (understanding of the problem, validation of the problem, innovativeness and market potential).
  • The use of the funding, if awarded.

Applications close: October 17, 2022


1. What are the requirements to be considered a “Memorial Student”?

To be considered a Memorial student, you will normally need to meet one of the following three criteria:

  • Be registered as an undergraduate student and have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours (six courses) over the past two years with at least three credit hours (one course) in one of the prior two semesters or the current semester;
  • Be registered as a graduate student and completed a minimum of three credit hours (one course) in one of the prior two semesters or the current semester; OR
  • Be enrolled as a learner in a program at the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial.

Please note: Recent graduates must have completed at least three credit hours (one course) subsequent to graduation to meet these criteria.

2. What kinds of ideas are acceptable for the Ignite Fund?

We are looking for ideas that have an element of innovation, compared to what current competitors are offering customers. These ideas must also have the potential to reach customers outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. Technology- and non-technology-based ideas are encouraged.

3. Can I compete even if I’ve won the Mel Woodward Cup or was a finalist? What about if I’ve won the Ignite Fund before?

Former winners of the Ignite fund or the Mel Woodward Cup can be part of a team if the idea is different than the one they were previously awarded funding for.

Former Mel Woodward Cup finalists can apply with the same idea if they did not secure one of the winning grants ($2,000 awards and above) in a precedent Ignite Fund competition.

4. Do I need to be a part of a team to have a chance of winning?

Not at all. Participants may compete as individuals if they so desire. We do, however, encourage you to create teams with a variety of complementary skill sets and strengths. If you need assistance in forming a team, you can use the start-up guide we provide to help.

5. What are some tips to maximize your chance of success?

The first thing you should do is be confident in your own idea. Even if you think your idea has nowhere to go, you should attempt to revise and make changes to it and keep with it for as long as you can. Secondly, utilize the resources we have here at the MCE. We provide a multitude of services that can help assist you at all the stages of your business idea. We encourage you to book a meeting with one of our Start-up Coaches  . Finally, keep working on your idea. This isn’t something you can simply complete within an hour, rather something that may take days or even weeks to fully realize and complete. Be prepared to invest some time in your idea and also use the prior two tips to realize the full potential of your idea and win the Ignite Fund!

6. I have an idea, but I don’t know how to act on it. Can anyone help me?

Absolutely! We here at the MCE have a multitude of programs that can help you begin working on your idea (or even work with you to come up with an idea)! We have two ways in which we can help:

Option 1: Book a meeting with one of our Start-up Coaches  .

Option 2: Participate in our workshops where you can learn foundational skills, which can be found .