TORONTO, May 23, 2019 — In order to advance equitable business opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, Shopify has joined the DMZ at Ryerson University as a founding partner of the Black Innovation Fellowship (BIF), a first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada.
With support from Shopify and other donors to the program, selected founders will gain access to high-calibre senior growth mentors; exclusive workshops designed to reflect the experience of Black entrepreneurs; a dedicated workspace in the heart of downtown Toronto; and the chance to work with influential investors, experts and more.
“We’re committed to changing the face of entrepreneurship because we believe in a future with more voices not fewer,” said Shavonne Hasfal-Mcintosh, Diversity and Belonging Lead at Shopify. “DMZ’s fellowship program will improve access for Black entrepreneurs by providing a new path to success, which is another important way we’re helping independent business owners in Canada turn their big ideas into businesses.”
Black founders and early-stage entrepreneurs from across Canada tackling a compelling market or societal need are invited to apply to the program. The opportunity will be given to startups that have a robust business model, a collaborative leadership team and innovative ideas that can be turned into sustainable businesses.
“As Canada’s startup ecosystem goes through tremendous growth, it’s important to continue creating a more inclusive economy in which entrepreneurs from all backgrounds have an opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director, DMZ. “The Black Innovation Fellowship program will help startups gain access to capital, mentoring and networking to scale globally, and increase our country’s competitiveness.”
Support from Shopify and inaugural founding partner DreamMaker Ventures has contributed to the program, which has a total fundraising goal of $1,000,000.
Applications to the Black Innovation Fellowship are currently open. For more information, eligibility and to apply, visit dmz.ryerson.ca/bif
Shopify is the leading multi-channel commerce platform. Merchants use Shopify to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including mobile, web, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops.
The platform also provides merchants with a powerful back-office and a single view of their business, from payments to shipping. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, making enterprise-level technology available to businesses of all sizes. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify currently powers over 800,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Unilever, Kylie Cosmetics, Allbirds, MVMT, and many more.
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 dollars AUM. Dream Maker Ventures invests in exceptional entrepreneurs and innovative technologies. Our goal is to fund early-stage companies that use technology to transform the way businesses operate, and revolutionize consumer experiences. We like to work with dreamers that can envision what life will be like in 5-10 years, and invest to help make that vision a reality.
The DMZ is a leading tech accelerator headquartered in Toronto, Ontario that helps high-potential startups grow and scale to world-class businesses. Also supporting ideation and validation stage startups, the DMZ’s incubator program has been ranked number one in the world by UBI Global. Since 2010, the DMZ has helped 412 startups raise over $605 million and foster more than 3,698 jobs.
About Ryerson University:
Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, it is home to more than 45,300 students, including 2,600 Master’s and PhD students, 3,800 faculty and staff, and nearly 198,000 alumni worldwide.