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DMZ launches ‘Women Founders Accelerator Program’ to Improve Gender Gap in Canada’s Tech Sector

TORONTO, February 15, 2018 – The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University announced today the launch of a Women Founders accelerator program to help early-stage women-led startups secure early revenue and find their product-market fit. The four-month accelerator program, launched in partnership with Scotiabank and Tangerine, will fuel the success of Canadian women innovators.

“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.”

Taking place at the DMZ, the leading university-based incubator in North America, participants will be provided access to seasoned tech executives and entrepreneurs, hands-on support, a dedicated workspace in downtown Toronto and a chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a cash prize.

“This program is a phenomenal fit for Scotiabank as it aligns closely to two of our most important focus areas as a company – diversity and innovation,” says Nicole German, Vice President, Enterprise Digital Marketing at Scotiabank. “While Canada has seen an exciting rise in entrepreneurship and tech, there are still gaps to be closed when it comes to female entrepreneurs, and Scotiabank is thrilled to contribute to a growing support network for this important group of change makers.”

“The contribution female entrepreneurs make to the economy and to their communities is significant,” said Brenda Rideout, Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

“If we want Canada to be a global technology leader, we need to be heavily focused on the advancement of women in our startup ecosystem,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University. “The DMZ Women Founders program has been brought to life by serial entrepreneurs, industry leaders and months of research designed to create an efficient engine that advances the potential of entrepreneurs by solving the well-identified barriers in early market validation.”

Applications to the DMZ Women Founders program will open on February 15, 2018 and will close on March 20, 2018. For more information, eligibility and to apply, visit


About DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University: The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University is the leading business incubator for technology startups in Canada. The top-ranked university incubator in North America and third in the world, it helps high-potential startups grow and scale their business by connecting them with customers, capital, coaches and a community of innovators. Since launching in 2010, it has incubated 313 startups that have raised $395 million in seed funding and have fostered the creation of more than 3,000 jobs. For more information, visit

About Scotiabank:

Scotiabank is Canada’s international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. We are dedicated to helping our 24 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 88,000 employees and assets of over $915 billion (as at October 31, 2017), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank.

About Tangerine:

Tangerine is a direct bank that delivers simplified everyday banking to Canadians. With over two million Clients and close to $38 billion in total assets, we are Canada’s leading digital bank. Tangerine offers banking that is flexible and accessible, products and services that are innovative, fair fees, and award-winning Client service. From no-fee daily chequing and high-interest savings accounts, a Credit Card, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, mortgages and mutual funds through its subsidiary, Tangerine Investment Funds Ltd., Tangerine has the everyday banking products Canadians need. With over 1,000 employees in Canada, our presence extends beyond our website and Mobile Banking app to our Café locations, Pop-Up locations, Kiosks and 24/7 Contact Centres. Tangerine was launched as ING DIRECT Canada in 1997. In 2012 it was acquired by Scotiabank, and operates independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

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