MasterCard Women in Entrepreneurship

DMZ_MastercardW_Banner-01 (2)

It’s a challenge felt by startup communities everywhere. From Silicon Valley to Berlin to Toronto, there’s a gender gap in the entrepreneurial world; women are noticeably underrepresented. They are less likely to start businesses and when they do, they tend to experience lower revenue growth than their male counterparts.

The DMZ is proud to present the MasterCard Women in Entrepreneurship Program. Through the support of a generous donation from MasterCard, the DMZ is looking to strengthen its community of female founders and co-founders and support these women as they scale their businesses.

The $60,000 program will fuel the success of six women-led startups through cash prizes and placement at the DMZ at Ryerson University, the top-ranked university-based incubator in Canada and one of the largest co-working spaces for entrepreneurs.

MasterCard’s donation to Ryerson is one part of the company’s YES: Youth in Entrepreneurial Success — a multi-faceted philanthropic commitment to Canadian youth who may not otherwise have the resources to explore and participate in entrepreneurship.


The competition is open to female entrepreneurs who are the current founder, co-founder or CEO of a startup. Bonus points will be given to startups working in the areas of online and terminal payment integration, loyalty points, cyber security and financial technology.  Learn more.

The program is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • is a woman;
  • is a legal resident of Canada (except Quebec);
  • is of the age of majority in the province or territory of residence; and
  • is a founder, cofounder, or a leader (i.e. CEO, president) of a start-up business (for each Entrant, the “Start-up Business”); and
  • meet the standard requirements for membership in the DMZ (as determined by the Contest Sponsor) including the following qualifications:
    • has a business solution that solves an important problem (i.e. economic or social);
    • makes innovative use of technology (hardware or software) as part of their business solution;
    • has a business plan (e.g. lean canvas);
    • has a prototype of their product that enables customer feedback and business development; and
    • is comprised of individuals who are driven, passionate and coachable.

Bonus points will be given to startups working in areas of:

  • online and terminal payment integration
  • loyalty points
  • cyber security
  • financial technology

Current DMZ startups and alumni startups are not eligible to apply.

Click here for complete terms and conditions.


Six applicants will be selected and awarded $10,000 worth of prizes each in the form of a $5,000 pre-paid MasterCard and extended admission to the DMZ for an extended six to eight month period (depending on number of desks required).  Learn more.

As part of their residency at the DMZ, the successful applicants will receive:

    • a customized intensive bootcamp, including a design thinking program, to advance their business
    • co-working space and services
    • business development opportunities
    • networking
    • comprehensive mentorship from DMZ advisors and entrepreneurs-in-residence
    • access to customers, influencers, experts and a supportive community of innovative entrepreneurs

How to apply

Submit your online application via the DMZ website. Applications will include a written component and a video component.

Key dates

Applications open on March 8. Applications close on April 6 at 11:59 p.m. Apply now.


Questions? Email Danielle Smith.

Apply here for the MasterCard Women in Entrepreneurship Program.

Applications will be accepted until April 6.

Click here for complete terms and conditions.


Generously supported by: