Applicants only have a few weeks left to enter the Digital News Innovation Challenge, a partnership between the Ryerson School of Journalism, The DMZ and the Facebook Journalism Project.

The challenge offers five journalism and technology-centred projects across the country $100,000 in potential seed capital in addition to a seperate $50,000 in Facebook marketing. The winning teams will also receive invaluable mentorship and industry connections to help turn ideas into reality.

“The challenges that we face are much bigger than Facebook alone and that’s one of the reasons we want to partner and engage with the broader ecosystem,” Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook and Instagram in Canada, said.

“We hope at the end of this journey, which will be around September, we will have some pretty interesting examples to showcase.”

While journalism, tech and digital media experience is preferred, the challenge is open to any Canadian with a strong idea related to solving a problem in the media landscape.

“We want you to focus on an idea that solves an actual problem in the world — not just an idea that seems cool, that seems interesting,” Richard Lachman, director of zone learning at Ryerson, said.

Lachman deals with 10 different incubator groups that help start-ups.  “We want you to not just have invention, you need to identify a real issue, a real problem.”

Although entries can build off of previous projects and start-ups, revenue for an existing venture can’t exceed $100,000 during any previous year of operation.

Applicants are required to submit a detailed lean canvas business model and have one full-time founder, but having a strong leadership team is also a necessary requirement.

Access to mentorship is one of the key benefits winning projects will receive through working with The DMZ, one of the top tech incubators in North America.

Since 2010, The DMZ team has accelerated 317 businesses and raised approximately $395-million in funding.

Applications close on March 9 and then 10 finalists will pitch their projects to a selection committee on March 29.

From there, the five-month incubation period begins and funding is awarded in stages that relate to specific milestones for each project and culminating on Sept. 28 with a demo day of the business to judges and industry leaders.

For more information or to enter, visit this link.

pmcaleer@cjournal.ca

Editor: Sarah Allen | sallen@cjournal.ca