The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Factory are excited to announce the five Lions for the 2017 LiON’S LAIR Pitch Competition.

The panel features some of Hamilton’s top business experts—accomplished leaders with a passion for their community. This year, we are pleased to welcome those new to the Lair: Dilys D’Cruz (Meridian Credit Union), Ruth Todd (KPMG), and Stuart Wheldon (advisor and investor). Julie Ellis (co-founder of Mabel’s Labels) and Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR) round out the panel as returning Lions. With expertise in everything from finance to art, the Lions are truly representative of Hamilton’s diverse economy.

“Hamilton’s commitment to innovation is really represented in our judging panel this year. These business experts are not only leading major corporations and initiatives, but investing in the future of the city,” says David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory.

Dr. Nick Bontis, award-winning business professor at McMaster University, will also return as the event emcee. “As LiON’S LAIR grows, it’s exciting to see how we can continue to develop a meaningful experience for our companies, ecosystem, and partners. Each year, we welcome returning and new partners to participate and look for innovative ways to celebrate these partnerships,“ adds Carter.

Applications for the competition closed May 4. The companies who applied are waiting to hear whether or not they made it through two tough rounds of business plan judging to be part of the top 15 start-ups who will go through summer training. The top 15 finalists will be announced during the second week of June. In August, five more companies will be eliminated and 10 finalists will win the opportunity to pitch to the Lions for the chance to take home over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizing.

Winners will be revealed September 27 at a gala event at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. Tickets will go on sale in mid-July. Watch for details.

Check out our 2017 Lions here!