Information for

Problem Pitch Competition

Problem Pitch Event

What’s wrong with your favourite recreation?

What stops you from fully enjoying your favourite recreation?

Does this problem also stop other people from enjoying the same recreation?

Does this problem stop other people from even trying this recreation?

Are a large number of people affected by this problem?

Could fixing this problem increase the number of people who participate in this recreation?

Could fixing this problem increase the number of hours that people spend on this recreation?

Could fixing this problem potentially make a lot of money?

If you can persuade a panel of judges that you have identified an important commercial problem in recreation and that you thoroughly understand the problem, you can win a financial award to help you and your team create a solution to the problem.

First place winners receive $3000, with an additional $3000 for demonstrated progress. Second place winners receive $2000, with an additional $2000 for demonstrated progress. A funding pool of $10,000 is available.

JOIN the Problem Pitch Competition for First-Year Students. Application now available.


How to apply


Organize a team of students who enjoy the same recreation, or selection of recreations then download The Steps Guide [PDF] to learn how to complete your submission document.

  1. Fill out an application - NOW OPEN.
  2. If selected complete the following:
    1. Attend two preparatory workshops on January 23 and 24, 2018, specific timing will be announced in Winter term.
    2. Submit your problem document on January 31, 2018. Information for how to complete this document can be found here.

Important dates

Event Date Location
Application opens Tuesday January 2, 2018 Online
Application closes Tuesday January 21, 2018 Online
Problem brief workshop Wednesday January 24, 2018 from 1pm - 3pm Village 1 - Room 187
Research workshop Tuesday January 23, 2018 from 1pm - 3pm Village 1 - Room 187
Problem brief submission deadline Tuesday January 31, 2018 Online
Pitch finalists selected Tuesday February 6, 2018 Sent to your UWaterloo email
Practice pitches Friday February 9, 2018 Village 1 - Room 210 (training room)
Problem Pitch Night Tuesday February 13, 2018 Claudette Millar Hall (CMH formerly NRB) Great Hall

The two workshops listed above are optional and not mandatory but they are incredibly valuable for students to attend as they will help teams better prepare for the pitch competition. If students cannot attend either of the workshops, they are welcome to attend the same workshop for the Open Problem Pitch. The times and location are posted on the Velocity Problem Pitch webpage.


The Pitch


The six teams with the strongest analysis of commercially important problems will be asked to pitch on February 13, 2018. Your five-minute problem pitch will present your understanding of the problem. The two teams with the most persuasive and documented analysis will win.

As a starting point, download the Recreation Revenues [PDF] to learn about different industries within recreation.

If you have any questions please email Danielle Burt,




This competition is open to teams of 1 to 4 people. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The majority of the team participants must be first-year students living in a University of Waterloo Residence. All team members must be a current full-time, or part-time University of Waterloo first-year students.

Not a first year student but still interested in participating? Check out the campus wide Problem Pitch Competition here.




Judge: Tracy Suerich

Educated with a Bachelor of Arts in Technical Theatre Production from Ryerson and a Masters of Public Service from University of Waterloo, Tracy has enjoyed a winding career that revolves around culture, community, and recreation.

Tracy developed the original programming model for the Public Square in UpTown Waterloo , and during her five years working for the municipality had programmed or overseen everything from yoga classes and and Hula Hoop nights, to internationally renowned timed races as well as cultural programming and festivals which have built a stronger and healthier community in Waterloo.

Today, Tracy is Project Coordinator for the Healthy Living Division at Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, and works on, among other things, promoting physical activity and active living as part of her portfolio.

Judge: Marshall Bingeman

Currently Associate Coach, Academics, Fullbacks and Tight Ends with the Warrior football program, he has been the Interim Head Coach of the football team twice, as well as having started and run our successful annual Football Gala fundraising event. 

While with the University of Waterloo, Marshall has also been the interim Manager of Inter University athletics, was an Inter University coordinator for baseball, Nordic skiing, and football.  He was also the lead person on the creation and funding for Warrior Field. 

Before joining the University of Waterloo full time he was involved in sales for a local custom transformer manufacturer.  Marshall has also been the Camping Manager, Recreation Vehicles Sales Manager, and a lead person in sales and operations of consumer shows and major events for Bingemans Inc., a diverse recreational and catering company in Kitchener. He currently sits as an observer on the Board of Directors of Bingemans Inc.

Judge: Tricia Mumby Co-founder & GM of Mabel’s Labels Inc

Tricia grew up in a small town with entrepreneurial parents.  With zero ambition to live the ups & downs of entrepreneurship, she attended the University of Waterloo with hopes of landing a nice, stable career.  Mabel’s Labels was a spark of an idea in early 2002 that she and her 3 partners (all friends from UW) hoped would become a nice side business.  The business grew super-fast.  Being first to market and a very useful product, it was a full-time endeavor with staff & a factory by 2005.  In 2016 the four co-founders sold the business to Avery/CCL Labels.  Tricia stayed on as the General Manager and one other partner stayed on also.  Mabel’s Labels continues to operate out of its home of 10 years in Hamilton ON.

Tricia spend many years working in digital printing at UW and had an understanding of the technology required to print quality products as efficiently as possible.  She had also managed a large team in a seasonal business, which were valuable skills.  Mabel’s Labels prints millions of labels every year, all shipped within 24hours of ordering.  Marketing, finance, e-commerce, web technologies and public relations are all skills that were learned along the way.  Today, Mabel’s Labels is recognized as a leader in social marketing, user experience and customer service. Their customers are loyal, happy to spread the word and proud to be a part of “The Mabelhood”.