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DMZ receives $500,000 CAD from The Embark Student Foundation to fuel expansion of immersive student entrepreneurial programs, launching Basecamp Sprint

Transformed programming for ambitious student entrepreneurs takes an immersive approach to support, offering the chance to pitch at Collision 2024, an all-expenses paid trip to explore New York City’s tech ecosystem and $50,000 CAD in cash prizes. 

TORONTO, April 8, 2024
–  Committed to fuelling student success during post-secondary years and beyond, the Embark Student Foundation has named DMZ an inaugural recipient of the Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program, awarding the Toronto Metropolitan University-based startup incubator $500,000 CAD.

The funds will support the expansion of DMZ’s student programming, specifically to build on the success of the long-running Basecamp program. To date, the summer incubation program has made a profound impact in helping student entrepreneurs ideate, build and grow startups, supporting 365 students who have created 151 new startups. 

This year, made possible through Embark’s support, Basecamp will be offered in two phases: Sprint and Voyage. Open to university students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, Basecamp Sprint is a 4-week pitch coaching experience where students will get the chance to pitch their business at Collision, North America’s premier tech conference, to win a trip to New York City. The chosen recipient will also receive support from DMZ NYC and access to top-tier tech events, offering invaluable exposure and international networking opportunities. 

All participants will continue their journey of growth and learning in the second phase of Basecamp: Voyage. This comprehensive 8-week program, the cornerstone of DMZ’s student offerings, is designed to help high school and university students develop innovative ideas that leverage technology to address pressing industry challenges. Participants in Basecamp Voyage benefit from expert 1-on-1 mentoring, customized expert coaching, and the opportunity to connect with leading startups and experts within Canada and DMZ’s global network for an immersive learning experience. 

Lisa Huh, CEO and Co-Founder of PocketClass and Basecamp alum, cited the program’s network as one of the most significant benefits she leveraged — even long after graduating. “One of the most considerable challenges many student entrepreneurs face is understanding how to access the ecosystem. Not only did DMZ provide me with the foundation for building and growing a business with tangible skills and support, but I now have access to a network of founders and experts I can tap into for advice and honest insights,” said Huh.

This year, DMZ is excited to announce Basecamp will offer increased grant prizes, totalling $50,000 CAD, at the end of the program. Of this, $30,000 is courtesy of Embark’s contribution, and the $20,000 CAD grand prize is made possible by The George and Helen Vari Foundation. 

“Fostering a thriving innovation ecosystem in Canada demands a lot more than just nudging youth towards a career in entrepreneurship. To build the next generation of successful startups, we must have a hands-on approach that immerses students in the realities of startup life—showcasing the highs and the lows,” said Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of DMZ and CEO of DMZ Ventures. “We’re honoured to be an inaugural recipient of the Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program. This support allows us to expand our offerings and open doors to real-world experiences for more students. Basecamp not only shapes the entrepreneurial spirit but also teaches students how to embrace grit and hustle.”  

The Embark Student Foundation Major Grants Program will also support post-program opportunities, granting Basecamp graduates exclusive access to DMZ programs such as Masterclass, Launchpad and various skill-building certifications to support long-term success in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Basecamp Sprint applications are open until May 3, 2024, and Basecamp Voyage applications are open until May 10, 2024. Student entrepreneurs interested in learning more can review eligibility for both programs and apply today at


Media Contact
Luvy Hardy, DMZ

About DMZ

DMZ is a world-leading startup incubator based at Toronto Metropolitan University that equips the next generation of tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch and scale highly impactful startups. By providing connections to customers, coaching, capital and a community, DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. Through its award-winning programming, DMZ has helped more than 820 startups raise $2.58 billion in capital and create 5,000+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with globally-accessible programming, DMZ has a widely-recognized international presence with offices in Vietnam, India and the U.S., and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Learn more at dmz to.

About The Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program

The Embark Major Grant Program provides funding for innovative programs, initiatives or services that support student success before, during and beyond their post-secondary years. Through this grant program, Embark wishes to partner with post-secondary educational institutions in their efforts to advance access, agency and innovation that will empower students to take hold of their future. Grants of $250,000 to $500,000 are available annually. Efforts are made to represent all types of post-secondary educational institutions and regions in Canada. Applications for 2024 will be accepted starting in Q3 2024. For more information about the program, visit

About Embark Student Corp.

Embark Student Corp. is Canada’s education savings and planning company. With over $6 billion in assets under management, the company is committed to empowering families along their post-secondary journeys by giving them the resources and tools they need to better plan and save for all that comes with an education. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Embark Student Foundation, a not-for-profit Canadian corporation, the company, registered as a Scholarship Plan Dealer across Canada, manages almost 600,000 RESPs for Canadians nationwide and helped approximately 53,600 students through post-secondary studies last year.

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