Black Innovation Programs


Empowering the next wave of Black entrepreneurs

Accelerate your dreams

Underrepresented communities continue to face barriers in accessing lucrative entrepreneurship opportunities created by Canada's burgeoning technology-driven innovation sector. Black entrepreneurs in particular encounter steep challenges when starting and growing a business - from accessing seed capital to having fewer publicly recognized role models.

This is why Ryerson DMZ has joined forces with a community of Founding Partners to develop the Black Innovation Program (BIP). The first-in-Canada program will provide startups led by Black entrepreneurs with the strengthening support of a top university-based incubator network, as well as additional programming, mentorship, events, and connections to industry, capital and an alumni network, to support their success and growth.

Our programs

LAUNCHPAD

Rocket representing BIP-Phase-1

Talent Development

Launchpad is a free skills development platform and year-round program geared at building the next generation of successful tech entrepreneurs.

Open to learners of all ages anywhere in the world, Launchpad helps participants develop the personal and professional skills needed to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey.

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BOOTCAMP

Rocket representing BIP-Phase-2

Startup Development

Our six-week Bootcamp helps early-stage founders validate a business idea/market opportunity, and build a roadmap for implementation.

The Bootcamp gives founders exposure to elements of core DMZ programming and helps speed up startup development to qualify for our Black Innovation Fellowship.

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FELLOWSHIP

Rocket representing BIP-Phase-3

Startup Acceleration

Our Incubator helps startups with a minimum viable product achieve product-market ft, build a powerful team and develop a winning sales strategy over 8 to 12 months. This program is ideal for Bootcamp graduates.

Our Accelerator helps high-potential startups fne-tune business processes, attract top investors and skyrocket revenue generation in a four-month intensive program.

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Our partners

The Black Innovation Program would not be possible without our partners' commitments. Thank you to these organizations and individuals for their unwavering support to strengthen Black entrepreneurship.

Inaugural Founding Partner & Program Founder



Isaac Olowolafe Jr.

Founder and General Partner, Dream Maker Ventures
link to Dreamaker venture website

Inaugural Founding Partner

Dream Maker Ventures (DMV) is the investment arm of Dream Maker Corp. (DMC), a Toronto-based vertically integrated asset management firm founded in 2003. With divisions in real estate, development, property management, and insurance, DMC has a total of half a billion AUM. The DMV Diversity Fund is an early-stage fund that primarily invests in under-represented, diverse founders such as racial minorities, women, persons with disabilities and Indigenous entrepreneurs across North America.

Representing our founding partners & supporters



Leslie J. Anderson

Global Head of Enterprise Technology, Employee Experience, BMO Financial Group
picture of BMO logo

Newton Asare

BIF Co-founding Partner & Venture Partner, Dream Maker Ventures
picrure of Dreamaker logo

Paulette Senior

President & CEO, Canadian Women's Foundation
picture of Canadian Women

Shavonne Hasfal-Mcintosh

Diversity and Belonging Lead, Shopify
picture of shopify logo

Trailblazer partners



Allies & advocates



BIP champions



Team



Gbemi Akande

Program Lead, Accelerator

Natoya Abiola

Programs Coordinator

BIP Entrepreneurs-in-Residence



Manu Kabahizi

Board Member, Ulula

Robleh Jama

Senior Product Lead, Shopify
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