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Black Innovation Programs


Empowering Black entrepreneurs with enhanced support


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Tailored support for Black innovators,
from concept to growth

Black entrepreneurs face unique hurdles in launching and growing a startup, often hindered by limited access to funding and support networks, a lack of visible role models, and entrenched biases within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. To confront these obstacles, DMZ launched its Black Innovation Programs (BIP) in 2019 to bridge the opportunity gap for Black-owned tech startups, fostering their growth and success.

Entrepreneurs engage with BIP through DMZ’s streams or standalone programs. Streams provide Black founders in our Incubator and Pre-Incubator with an additional layer of support above and beyond standard program benefits. Standalone programs have distinct structures, providing specialized resources, workshops, and networking opportunities to empower Black entrepreneurs at different stages.

Streams

Black founders who are accepted into DMZ’s Pre-Incubator and Incubator tap into an additional layer of support through the BIP stream, beyond the standard benefits that all founders receive. To be eligible, you must apply for and be accepted into the Pre-Incubator or Incubator programs.

BIP stream: Pre-Incubator


WHAT IT IS:

In addition to full program benefits, Pre-Incubator startups with a Black founder receive:

  • A $5K Black Innovation entry grant upon completing sales training
  • Up to $15K budget pool for legal expenses
  • Access to established Black mentors and quarterly peer meetups
  • Invites to events and networking opportunities curated for Black entrepreneurs
  • Amplified company exposure through DMZ marketing and PR opportunities

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BIP stream: Incubator


WHAT IT IS:

A highly customized 18-month program transforming venture-backable companies into market leaders with proven business models.



In addition to full program benefits, Incubator startups with a Black founder receive:

  • A $10K Black Innovation entry grant upon acceptance into the program (or $5K top-up for Pre-Incubator graduates)
  • Up to $15K budget pool for legal expenses
  • Reimbursements for business travel within Canada and event fees
  • Access to established Black mentors and quarterly peer meetups
  • Intros to funders and partners dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses
  • Exclusive pitch opportunities, including at our annual Black Innovation Summit
  • Invites to events and networking opportunities curated for Black entrepreneurs
  • Amplified company exposure through DMZ marketing and PR opportunities

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Programs

Programs are standalone initiatives that have their own entry requirements, application process, and structure, usually brought to life by contributions from our valued partners. These are the standalone programs offered exclusively for early-stage Black entrepreneurs.

Black Innovation Launchpad


WHAT IT IS:

A free virtual skills development platform and year-round program geared at building the next generation of successful Black entrepreneurs.



Participants receive:

  • Access to the Black Innovation Launchpad platform jam-packed with learning resources and video workshops on startup ideation, leadership, funding a business, building a team and more
  • Invites to events and networking opportunities curated for Black entrepreneurs
  • Mentorship through a DMZ Expert-in-Residence upon program completion

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Dream Hub


WHAT IT IS:

Exclusive quarterly online workshops allow entrepreneurs to enhance their skills, network with industry leaders, and elevate their professional development for career advancement.



Participants receive:

  • Access to virtual workshops on marketing strategies, grant writing, financing and more
  • Invites to networking events to connect with fellow aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals in various industries
  • Mentorship services to learn from subject-matter experts who excel in their fields
  • Certification badges upon completion to promote their new credentials and expertise with their professional networks

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Testimonials

BIP Companies



Loopify360

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Cleanster

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SUBSKRYB

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ShipVista

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Our partners



Isaac Olowolafe Jr.

Inaugural Founding Partner & Programs Founder

Founder and General Partner, Dream Maker Ventures

Ralph Lean

Honorary Chairman

Distinguished Counsel in Residence, Ted Rogers School of Management

BIP champions



Our team



Mohi Sanisel

Programs Manager

Tina Mbachu

Senior Stewardship Lead

Yinka Adesesan

Black Innovation Programs Manager

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