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A one-day event dedicated to spotlighting Black entrepreneurs


Navigating Next

The Black Innovation Summit is a one-day event where tech’s brightest minds ignite change, showcasing strategies for Black entrepreneurs to shine on the global stage. Celebrating resilience and innovation, this year’s theme is Navigating Next. Black entrepreneurs and allies will come together to explore strategies to thrive amidst geopolitical uncertainties and rapid tech advancements, amplifying Black excellence through dynamic conversations, collaborative roundtables, and inspiring keynotes. Join us as we chart the course for progress and empowerment within the Black community and beyond.

Join us at the Black Innovation Summit


Black Innovation Breakfast

This event sets the stage for a day dedicated to driving Black innovation forward. Kick off your morning with inspiration and mingle with trailblazing founders, investors, corporates, key players and allies within the community. The breakfast is invite-only and curated for meaningful collaboration, but if you would like to get involved, please indicate your interest below.



These roundtables are a nexus for sharing insights and building connections among startup founders, investors, corporate executives, and key stakeholders. Discussion topics include Innovation Beyond Borders, AI & Inclusion, Black Women & Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital. This event is invite-only, but if you'd like to get involved, please indicate your interest below.


Pitch competition

For the day's grand finale, join us to watch 10 extraordinary Black tech founders take the stage to pitch for $50,000 in grant prizes. Plus, hear keynotes from notable Black leaders and network with investors, corporates, government representatives, non-profit partners and more. Registration for the event is open; please register below and await your confirmation ticket from DMZ.

Hear from last year’s participants

With tech incubators bringing investment and inspiration, Black entrepreneurs feel they can 'change the world'

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DMZ’s Black Innovation Summit awards $50,000 CAD in funding to Black-led tech startups in Canada

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Frequently asked questions

What does the Black Innovation Summit entail?

DMZ’s Black Innovation Summit is taking place on May 28, 2024, and will incorporate several events throughout the day, including a networking breakfast, founder and industry roundtable sessions and a pitch competition.

Who can apply to pitch at the Summit? How are finalists selected?

The pitch competition is for Black tech founders with a functional MVP and business dedicated to solving a compelling problem using innovative technology. Founders must apply and be available to attend the Summit in person at DMZ’s HQ in downtown Toronto.
Pitch applications closed on April 15, but applications were evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Product stage
  • Scalability
  • Leadership proficiency
  • Market assessment
  • Technological capabilities

How can investors get involved?

Investors who are interested in participating in the Black Innovation Summit should reach out to Annie Long at

What is the Steering Committee’s role for the Summit?

The Steering Committee is comprised of industry leaders from a variety of verticals within business and technology. Their role is to ensure a wide range of perspectives, experiences and ideas to reduce bias in event planning and facilitate an equitable review process of pitch finalists. The Committee’s feedback and insights are shared with DMZ for consideration. For any additional information, please reach out to

How does DMZ support Black entrepreneurs year-round?

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. DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs (BIP) bridge the opportunity gap for Black-owned tech startups, fostering their growth and success. Learn more about the benefits Black entrepreneurs receive at DMZ.

Black Innovation Programs Partners

Government Partners

Media Partner

Steering Committee

headshot image of Brooke Graham

Brooke Graham

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Manager, LifeLabs
headshot image of Efosa Obano

Efosa Obano

Founder & Manager, Black Founders Network
headshot image of Iran Karimian

Iran Karimian

Head of Accelerator and Startup Ecosystem, Google Canada
headshot image of Lise Birikundavyi

Lise Birikundavyi

Co-Founder / Managing Partner, BKR Capital
headshot image of Michael Younder

Michael Younder

Senior Manager, Partnerships and Innovation, Scotiabank
headshot image of Mohammed Muraj

Mohammed Muraj

Counsel, Torys LLP
headshot image of Monique Miller

Monique Miller

Purpose Programs Manager, Unilever
headshot image of Tinashe Wingfield

Tinashe Wingfield

Managing Director, Cadence Foresight Innovations

Become a Summit Sponsor

Discover how you can join us in driving Black innovation. Participate in the Summit, support our programs, or explore sponsorship opportunities today.

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