lions lair logo innovation factory pitch competition hamilton

LiON’S Lair invests in startups. The competition takes entrepreneurs through extensive training and provides the chance to pitch their business and win a CASH PRIZE!


LiONʼS LAIR is an annual competition presented by Innovation Factory in partnership with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hamilton, which brings together the entrepreneurship and innovation community in Hamilton. The competition gives 10 companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of our city’s top business experts – the “Lions” – for a chance to win cash prizes.

The first annual competition took place in 2011, and has significantly grown – in application volumes, gala attendees, prizing and buzz – year after year.


lions lair training hamilton innovation factory pitch competition

finalists selection

So how does LiON’S LAIR work? Every Spring, hopeful participants submit business plans which are evaluated by a panel of independent judges.

The judges’ score the plans based on a company’s product, its commercial viability and the ability of the entrepreneur to execute. After the judging, the 15 companies who scored the highest are our finalists.



business & pitch training

The finalists are taken through training sessions intended to strengthen their skills in pitching and developing questions and responses on the fly.





Each of the 15 finalists are required to deliver a verbal 10 minute pitch that will be recorded and available online. From there, the 15 participants will interview with a panel of experts to score their company’s marketing, legal and business status, 10 companies will then be selected to move forward into the final round.




the awards GALA

The 10 finalists will receive additional training to prepare and deliver a 2-minute pitch live and on stage at the Lion’s Lair Gala in September! The decisions are made by the Lion’s live that evening!

Many of our past finalists are continuing to grow their businesses post-LiON’S LAIR and are making an impact on Hamilton’s economy. Many have hired staff to expand their teams and a couple have even made it to the Dragons’ Den stage!


Have a question about LiON’S LAIR? Send us an email at [email protected] or visit to learn more!