DMZ Announces New Accelerator Program for Early-Stage Women-Led Startups

A brand new accelerator has launched in Toronto, and it’s supported by some of the biggest institutions in the country.

The DMZ has unveiled the Women Founders Accelerator Program, a brand new incubator designed to help early-stage women-led startups secure initial revenue and find out where their product or service fits in the market. It is a four-month accelerator program and will feature Scotiabank and Tangerine as partners, and in total six to eight female-fronted startups will be invited into the cohort.

At the end of the program, the founders will all pitch to receive three prizes of $50,000, $25,000 and $15,000.

“Advocating for gender parity in Canada’s startup ecosystem is a social and economic necessity,” said Michelle Caers, founder and CEO of DesignedUX and the program’s lead DMZ Entrepreneur-in-residence. “In order to strengthen the position of women in the startup ecosystem, the DMZ’s Women Founders program will equip entrepreneurs with the necessary connections, capital and community to compete in Canada’s burgeoning tech sector.”

The new program will take place at the DMZ, one of Canada’s leading tech incubators that has recently been involved in accelerators and competitions covering everything from digital journalism to fintech. Participants in the Women Founders program will have access to industry-leading executives, hands-on-support and a dedicated workspace in downtown Toronto.

The selected participants will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to DMZ’s recently opened New York City office to meet investors and potential international customers. After the four-month cohort ends, all of the founders will pitch at an event to judges in hopes of securing the non-dilutive cash prize sponsored by Tangerine and Scotiabank.

“The contribution female entrepreneurs make to the economy and to their communities is significant,” said Brenda Rideout, CEO of Tangerine. “DMZ is an invaluable resource, and we’re proud to be a part of a program that encourages female leaders to pursue and grow high-potential tech ventures.”

The program will also feature tailored workshops to help founders develop customer discovery skills, find new marketing strategies and more, all put on by some of Canada’s leading industry experts.
Weekly tailored workshops on customer discovery, product market fit, marketing strategies and more, facilitated by Canada’s leading domain experts and influential entrepreneurs.

Applications to the DMZ Women Founders program open today and will close on March 20. Founders must have an MVP and be willing to relocate to the DMZ for the duration of the program, and unfortunately, founders from Quebec are not allowed to participate. The program begins on April 16 and the pitch event will happen in September.