The central element of the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award is a local competition held at each participating university. Although the exact process may differ from campus to campus, in general they follow the same flow.
Individual students or student teams begin by registering for the competition and submitting an outline of their plan to their university’s Nicol Award faculty advisor. Teams whose entries are accepted are then asked to prepare a more detailed plan, and after additional review, a set of teams is invited to make a formal presentation to a local panel of judges. Typically the local judges are members of the faculty, local business people, alumni, and other entrepreneurs from the local community.
The local panel of judges selects three winners from that campus, and cash prizes are awarded to each of these three winning teams as follows:
The first-place team from each campus is then entered into the National Nicol competition.
An additional feature of the Nicol competition being implemented at some of the universities this year is an Elevator Pitch competition, with prize money. The elevator pitch, because it is an informal competition for individuals, is meant to serve as a gentle introduction to the entrepreneurial process.
A national selection panel reviews the material submitted by each of the campus winners and selects six teams to be national finalists. These six teams and their faculty advisors are invited to come to the National Nicol Award Competition and Gala Dinner, which is held annually in Ottawa.
At the National Finals, each team makes a presentation to a panel of judges who select a single winning team to be awarded the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award and Trophy. There is no additional prize money awarded to the Nicol national finalists or winner.