Skip to Main Content

DMZ’s 2024 Women Innovation Summit to award $100,000 in cash investments from The Firehood and honour trailblazing women in tech across Canada

Applications for DMZ’s Women Innovation Pitch Competition and Women of the Year Award nominations are now open.

Toronto, December 4, 2023
Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ is thrilled to announce its second annual Women Innovation Summit on March 7, 2024. In honour of International Women’s Day, this one-day event is designed to empower and celebrate women in entrepreneurship along with their allies.

Taking place at DMZ’s HQ in Toronto, the Women Innovation Summit will comprise of a full day of activities fusing connection and innovation: a series of intimate roundtable discussions uniting women founders and industry partners, a pitch competition for women-led startups to secure funding to support their next stage of growth and the unveiling of DMZ’s Women of the Year award winners. Starting today, applications for the Women Innovation Pitch Competition and nominations for DMZ’s Women of the Year are open at

“Building off the success of our inaugural Women Innovation Summit and DMZ’s commitment to fuel women-led innovation, our 2024 Summit has been crafted to raise the bar, introducing new programming elements like our curated roundtable discussions,” said Emily Smiley, Director of Partnerships and Investor Relations. “Our goal is to celebrate and empower women innovators – and the champions that support them – to create an impact that extends far beyond the Summit.” 

The Firehood, a national network for women in technology that offers professional development and funding for women-led businesses, is teaming up with DMZ on the Summit for a second year and has committed $100,000 in cash investments for the Women Innovation Pitch Competition.  

“At The Firehood, we are dedicated to engaging accredited women angel investors that support women entrepreneurs. I’m thrilled to collaborate with DMZ on the Women Innovation Summit again in 2024. As we embark on this journey another year, I emphasize the continued importance of angel funding for women founders, which builds innovative ideas, resilient entrepreneurs and tolerance for risk,” says Claudette McGowan, CEO at Protexxa and Co-Founder at The Firehood.

Women Innovation Pitch Competition

Open to women founders across Canada, the Women Innovation Pitch Competition will select 25 women founders to receive two pitch advisory sessions, marketing and PR opportunities and the chance to join curated roundtable discussions at the Summit. Of the 25, the top 10 women-led startups will have the opportunity to pitch to The Firehood’s angel investors to secure cash investments. The inaugural 2023 Women Innovation Summit awarded funding to three women-led startups from across Canada: Apricotton, Areto Labs and PragmaClin

“The Firehood was beyond impressed with the calibre of applicants from last year’s Summit. Through our partnership with DMZ, we look forward to providing more leading women innovators with the connections, guidance and capital from The Firehood to champion their fundraising efforts”, says Danielle Graham, Co-Founder of The Firehood.

DMZ’s Women of the Year Award

DMZ’s annual Women of the Year award honours inspirational women creating impact in tech. The list of award winners is curated by the tech community and recognizes innovative women from diverse backgrounds and industries, including startup founders and corporate and non-profit leaders. DMZ’s 2024 Women of the Year Award recipients will receive marketing and PR opportunities and will be invited to join an exclusive DMZ Women of The Year breakfast event to connect and engage with fellow winners and celebrate their collective accomplishments as leading women in tech. Winners will be officially unveiled at the Women Innovation Summit.

“As a recipient of DMZ’s Women Of The Year 2023, it was an honour to have received this award. The event was a profound experience. Witnessing the remarkable pitches at the competition and connecting with dedicated trailblazers addressing the funding gap left a lasting impression. Grateful for the powerful insights and the community driving change,” said Kelly Emery, Founder of Troop and 2023 DMZ Women of the Year award winner.  

Applications for the Women Innovation Pitch Competition and DMZ’s Women of the Year Award nominations close on January 21, 2024. Review eligibility and apply by visiting

DMZ’s Women Innovation Summit was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.



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 $2.55 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.

Media Contact
Luvy Hardy, DMZ

Back to Media Relations