By Alan Young

World’s largest hospitality technology conference brings highly anticipated startup competition to the Canadian tech hub

When you think of the city of Toronto, what comes to mind? For starters, Toronto may conjure images of the CN Tower, world-class food, and entertainment, or lyrics to one of Drake’s many songs in which he highlights the city he calls home. But over the last decade, Toronto has become recognized for more than its architecture, events, food, and local celebrities; it’s become the Canadian tech hub. In 2019, Toronto was named one of the fastest-growing tech markets in North America and, since then, has earned the reputation of “the quietly booming tech town.” With large-scale innovators like Apple, Microsoft, and Google setting up expansive office hubs in the downtown core, Toronto now has more tech workers than Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., trailing only New York and Silicon Valley, according to CBRE, a real estate company that tracks tech hiring.

There is perhaps no better destination for the hospitality technology industry’s annual meeting of innovative minds, HITEC. Produced by HFTP, HITEC is the world’s largest hospitality technology conference, renowned for attracting hospitality professionals from over 60 countries. This year, the event is taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from June 26th-29th and will provide exhibitors with the opportunity to showcase their products and services to high-level professionals while attendees are immersed in keynote presentations, demonstrations, and exciting networking opportunities. Of course, one of the biggest attractions throughout the conference is the Entrepreneur 20X competition, which will surely feel right at home in what has become the tech capital of Canada.

For those new to HITEC, the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) features ambitious startups presenting their innovative hospitality technology concepts to a carefully selected panel of expert judges and an audience of HITEC attendees for the chance to be recognized as the top concept for that year. Judges include hospitality CIOs, angel investors, and serial entrepreneurs. The competition presents two winning categories: the “E20X Judge’s Choice Award” and the “E20X People’s Choice Award,” which, as the name implies, is selected by HITEC attendees. During the competition, one person from each startup has 4 minutes to pitch their solution to a packed session room and a panel of judges. Immediately following the pitch, the judges have 4 minutes to ask questions. The best part? The Judge’s Choice Award winner goes home with bragging rights and a 5,000 cash prize.

At HITEC Dubai in May 2022, earned the Judge’s Choice Award for its innovative, app-less, cashless, and contact-free tipping solution that enables tip earners to manage their financial wellness better. At HITEC Orlando the following month, Beachy, a leading provider of next-generation solutions and services for the country’s leading resorts, took home the E20X People’s Choice Award winner. Speaking of their experience competing against seven other industry-leading technology companies, Beachy founder David Stange called E20X an incredible opportunity. “We are extremely proud to be recognized by our industry peers for developing a solution that helps resorts dramatically improve their staff and guest experience levels,” he said. “The Beachy team met with HITEC attendees this week to show what our solutions can do for their properties, and we are excited to be the People’s Choice Award winner at this year’s E20X competition.”

HITEC is an incredible opportunity to connect and network with industry peers (especially after a prolonged pandemic hiatus from in-person events) and learn about the latest innovations and trends to impact the hospitality industry. While there is no shortage of breakout sessions, panels, events, and parties to attend throughout the conference, attendees should not miss the E20X competition. The E20X Innovation Lab is, after all, the battleground of some of the most innovative startups the hospitality technology industry has ever seen, and Toronto E20X is sure to be an event to remember. See you all in June!

To register or learn more about HITEC 2023 in Toronto, visit