View COVID-19 Statement from Innovation Factory about LiONS LAIR

Hamilton is a city of innovators and ambition.  Alongside Innovation Factory, the innovation and entrepreneurship community is represented by business support providers, leading industry and professional firms, government and academic institutions.  These organizations lend their support to entrepreneurs, fostering local talent and providing the type of resources and mentorship it takes to help a company grow to its potential.

Year-round support takes on many forms, but Innovation Factory’s LiONS LAIR rallies all the forces together to showcase the best in local talent and innovation at Hamilton’s leading pitch competition.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, LiONS LAIR is an annual competition presented by Innovation Factory in collaboration with the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office and brings the entrepreneurship and innovation community together.

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The 2020 LiONS LAIR pitch competition will be delivered as a virtual, bracket-style tournament over four, exciting days in September.  The cohort of 16 companies receive training and coaching, all in preparation to pitch and compete head-head for their chance to win big prizes.

The single elimination pitch tournament is a high-stakes environment, but the 2020 LiONS LAIR finalists will be prepared! 


Application and Finalist Selection by our Expert Judges

Each year LiONS LAIR grows with more and more applications being submitted.  Finalists are chosen based on their company’s product, its commercial viability and the ability of entrepreneurs to execute.  Applications are scored by expert judges who narrow the field down to just a handful of the best.

Pitch Training from our Expert Advisors

It takes a community to build a business, and the Hamilton community is here to lend its support.  LiONS LAIR finalists go through a series of workshops and receive training intended to strengthen their skills in pitching and developing responses on the go.  Innovation Factory’s expert advisors provide coaching and mentorship to the finalists to fine-tune their pitches and prepare them for the big stage.

Business Readiness with the Pillar of Business LiONS

The finalists take on a series of interviews with the Pillar of Business LiONS designed to test their legal, business-growth and marketing strategies. Innovation Factory partners; Gowling WLG, KPMG and Jan Kelley take on the roles of the Legal LiON, the Financial LiON and the Growth LiON respectively, contributing their time to help coach and evaluate the finalists.  

LiONS LAIR Madness Tournament with the Investor LiONS and Sponsors

After a summer of training, the cohort of 16 finalists are ready to compete! 

The LiONS LAIR pitch competition will be delivered as a virtual, bracket-style tournament on September 21-24, 2020. The finalists will pitch and compete head-head in a single elimination tournament. 

The finalists will deliver their pitch and field questions from our Investor LiONS.

The Investor LiONS help determine the winners from each match-up to advance to the next round.  These judges lend their time and decades of investment experience to judge the companies’ pitches which includes the scores provided from the Pillar of Business LiONS.

The winners of LiONS LAIR will be awarded big prizes, thanks to the generous support of the LiONS LAIR sponsors.   These prizes will help elevate their companies to the next level, create jobs, increase revenues and attract investment.

This year’s prizes are thanks to the generous support from Meridian Credit Union, KPMG, Gowling WLG, Jan Kelley, the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office, Hamilton Business Centre, BarterPay, McMaster University, McMaster Innovation Park, Mohawk College, Cogeco, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Cable 14 and Soundbox Productions.


Many of our past finalists are continuing to grow their businesses post-LiONS LAIR and are making an impact on Hamilton’s economy.  Innovation Factory is proud to see our LiONS LAIR alumni grow their teams, build new partnerships, raise follow-on investment, continue in the pitch circuit, and lend their support to new startups in the entrepreneur community.


If you have any questions regarding LiON’S LAIR, please email [email protected].