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Esch Awards

Do you have a great idea? Need funds to help kickstart it? The Esch Awards can help.

The Norman Esch Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards provide financial assistance to current engineering and architectural science students with the purpose of enabling new, innovative ideas for products, inventions and technologies that are relevant to the Canadian economy now and in the future.  

Stage 1 - Interaction Award ($5,000)

The Stage 1 Esch Award supports students in the initial ideation stages. Up to 25 Interaction Awards of $5,000 each are available annually to help successful applicants develop work plans and complete market assessments.

Applicants should conduct research to demonstrate that the idea does not already exist in the marketplace, and address the issues identified in the selection criteria. Award recipients must report progress within four months of receiving the award. Ten per cent of the award amount will be withheld until the report is received. 

Stage 2 - Development Award ($8,000)

The Stage 2 Esch Award supports students who have completed formal market research which substantiates that there is market demand for their product or service. Up to 16 Development Awards at $8,000 each will be awarded annually to help successful applicants develop business plans or alpha/beta prototypes.

Applicants should have considered the steps required to develop their ideas into businesses, and be able to address the issues identified in the selection criteria. Recipients must report progress within six months of receiving the award. Ten per cent of the award amount will be withheld until the report is received. If you are applying to Stage 2 and you have not previously received a Stage 1 award, you must demonstrate through your application package that you have completed an equivalent level of work. 

 

Stage 3 - Market Readiness Award (up to $25,000)

The Stage 3 Esch Award supports students who have completed formal business plans and/or alpha or beta prototypes. Approximately five awards up to $25,000 each will be awarded on an annual basis to help successful applicants conduct market readiness assessments, obtain legal advice, complete technology transfer agreements, etc.

Applicants should be in a position to demonstrate that their idea has commercial potential and be able to address the issues identified in the selection criteria. Applicants must include a budget outlining the total request amount and anticipated expenses. Recipients must report progress within six months of receiving the award. Ten per cent of the award amount will be withheld until the report is received. If you are applying to Stage 3 and you have not previously received Stage 1 or 2 awards, you must demonstrate through your application package that you have completed an equivalent level of work.

Eligibility

All undergradute and graduate students with clear academic standings in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science are eligible to apply. For applicants from architectural science, projects and/or ideas must be related to sustainability, i.e., projects should aim to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

If you have already applied to or received other awards for the same project/business idea, you are still eligible to apply for an Esch Award, however, your application must represent a different scope of work. Student teams cannot receive Esch Awards, however, individuals on the team may. Applicants with co-inventors must complete an invention disclosure form.

Selection Criteria

Applicants should address each category below. With the exception of the last two categories, the criteria are applied to all three award stages, however, the weighting of categories will differ depending on the stage of project development.

  1. Overall Proposal Quality: Proposals will be evaluated based on the ability to adhere to the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).
  2. Student Rating: Students will be evaluated based on their skill set and passion.
  3. Idea Rating: Ideas will be assessed on technical feasibility and merit, innovation, marketing potential for product or service, cost and financing needs, and risk mitigation.
  4. Donor Mandate Alignment: The proposal should be relevant to the Canadian economy, and demonstrate unmet financial need - please use budget form.
  5. Attachment Quality: Applicants are permitted to submit two attachments that support or convey the strength of the idea/project. Relevant and concise attachments can help bolster the project's overall score, however, attachments that are deemed irrelevant or not concise may decrease the overall score.
  6. Stage Improvement (applies to previous applicants only): Improvement will be evaluated through mentor/advisor feedback and by ability to improve from stage to stage.  
  7. Matching Funding (applies to Stage 3 applicants only): Applicants should explain what efforts have been made to secure matching funds.

 

The next application deadline is TBD.

To apply for an Esch Award, first log into the Ryerson portal (my.ryerson.ca). Select 'Esch Foundation' under Courses and Organizations and follow the prompts.

Have questions about applying?

Attend one of our information sessions (dates coming soon), or contact us anytime:

Sothy Son
Administrative Co-ordinator
sothyson@ryerson.ca
416-979-5000 ext. 4263

 

Esch Award recipients improve lives before they even graduate. They take risks and discover new markets, and use their design and entrepreneurship skills to develop innovative technology businesses that create jobs and contribute to the global economy.

Learn more about some of our recent Esch Award recipients or check out the videos below.

Samin Eftekhari

Samin is a current PhD student in Chemical Engineering who has won both Stage 1 and 2 Esch Awards.

Samin's research led her to develop a new synthetic bone substitute that will revolutionize bone repair for patients, surgeons, hospitals and medical device companies.  

She used her Esch Award funding for market research and patenting costs of her new nanocomposite. She also secured over $60,000 in matching funding for her venture.  

Peyman Moeini

Peyman is a graduate of Ryerson's Biomedical Engineering program and is currently pursuing his PhD. He is the co-founder of Peytec, Inc, and has won Stage 2 and 3 Esch Awards.

As an undergraduate student, Peyman developed an integrated hardware and software solution for real-time tracking and locating of equipment and people. In 2013, he secured a spot for his company in Ryerson's DMZ.

Peyman leveraged his Esch Award funding to secure an additional $25,000 from the Ontario Centres of Excellence. He is currently working with the City of Toronto to implement his real-time tracking system for the City's maintenance equipment.