Dare to Dream

The Dare to Dream Program through Centre for Business Venturing (CBV) at Smith School of Business is designed to encourage and enable entrepreneurs in launching their new ventures. The program is specifically focused on providing critical resources to help Smith graduates turn their new venture business plans into reality. Each award provides up to a total of $15,000 over a three month period.

Many students create new ventures while in their program, yet upon graduation, they are faced with a tough dilemma: take a full-time job in order to pay for rent and/or student loans and sacrifice the opportunity to bring their business to fruition versus pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams while bootstrapping to make ends meet.

The Dare to Dream Program was created to make it possible for graduates to pursue the latter, by not only covering expenses, but also providing other critical resources such as space and access to the invaluable Queen’s network of contacts.


Founders/Co-Founders must be in their final year of study for a degree or diploma program at Smith School of Business or have graduated from a Smith program in the Fall of the previous year

Key dates & deadlines

Task Date
Applications Open Mon, Feb 20
Applications Close Wed, Apr 12 @ Noon EDT
Pre-Screening Judges Deliberations Thur, Apr 13 - Sun, April 23
Winners Announced * Mon, Apr 24

*Due to the number of entries, only the winners will be informed

Guidelines and templates

Please read through the guidelines carefully

  Guidelines and Criteria

  Lean Canvas Model

Criteria to submit

  • Your venture should be in the start-up stage (well beyond ideation)
  • A clear explanation of the product or service and the pain point/problem you are solving that answers the ‘so what.’ - build the emotional attachment to ‘why should we care?” and ‘how will this make life better for the target market?’
  • A clear explanation of the product or service and the pain point you are solving
  • The opportunity and solution (i.e. why is now the right time for this business)
  • Proven research and market validation, including a strong understanding of the total addressable (TAM) /service available (SAM)/serviceable obtainable market (SOM)
  • Your target market (i.e. size, structure, archetype)
  • Your competitive advantage(s)
  • CRITICAL - The economics of the business – e.g. business model, revenue model (pricing strategy), COGS, profit margins etc
  • The value proposition of your team
  • The ask!! Why are you pitching to the judges, i.e.how, will you use money, and what value will it add?
  • Sources of funding – how are you funding the business now, and show any additional finances raised

"…the Dare to Dream Program allowed me to do exactly what it said it was going to do. It allowed me to dream. It allowed me to not just have to look inside the box of having to get a job because I had to pay for my education. It was to really go out there and test an idea and see if I could build a business."

Michelle Romanow, BSc (Eng) ’07, MBA’08
Dragon, CBC Dragons’ Den
Co-Founder SnapSaves (acq by Groupon) and
Co-Founder of Clearbanc