The DMZ launches new social impact stream for Black entrepreneurs in partnership with Unilever Canada

The DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs expand to further support Black founders building social ventures that create real-world impact


TORONTO, August 5, 2021 –
The DMZ has unveiled a new stream within their Black Innovation Program (BIP) to support Black founders with a social mission and purpose. 

Powered by Unilever Canada, the Black Innovation Program (BIP) Social Impact Stream will support Black entrepreneurs leading social ventures by empowering them to scale business operations, make lucrative industry connections, and build sustainable solutions to maximize their impact on the world. To be considered for the program, applicants must be a tech-based or tech-enabled social venture with the intent to scale their business. 

A first-in-Canada program, the DMZ’s BIP was established to provide Black-led startups with the strengthening support of a top incubator network, as well as the programming, mentorship, events, and connections to industry and capital, to support their success. With the introduction of the Social Impact Stream, the DMZ has developed specialized programming for Black entrepreneurs in partnership with Unilever Canada, an industry-leading consumer goods company focused on sustainable, inclusive business practices. 

The virtual program’s first cohort will begin this September and run until March 2022. Over six months, 15 selected Black-led social enterprises will participate in a part-time program consisting of expert-led workshops, peer-to-peer and mentorship sessions, exclusive community events, and more. Through the program, social entrepreneurs will expand their knowledge and apply learnings back to their organizations. 

Participants can expect to receive hands-on support in areas like marketing, selling for social enterprise, design thinking, financing, raising capital, business law, and more. At the end of the program, entrepreneurs will participate in an exclusive Demo Day event and will have the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges to secure one of many grant funding prizes to accelerate their company growth. Up to $35,000 in grant funding will be distributed to participants of the program’s first cohort. Together, Unilever Canada and the DMZ have allocated up to $70,000 in grants over two cohorts of the program.

“What’s incredible about our partnership with Unilever Canada is that the impact this initiative will have on Canadian business is two-fold,” said Janey Buzugbe, Head of the Black Innovation Programs and Partnerships at the DMZ. “Firstly, it will play an important role in strengthening the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem by providing high-potential Black founders with the knowledge and connections needed to become high-growth, high-impact ventures. Secondly, it’s supporting a community of entrepreneurs who are genuinely motivated to succeed – not just for themselves through profit, but for their communities and by the impact they will make on the world.”

“Unilever is proud to be partnering with the DMZ as an organization that has been proactive and attuned to the lived experience, research and the nuanced needs of Black entrepreneurs in Canada. The Black Innovation Program: Social Impact Stream embodies Unilever’s strategic commitment to unlocking capacity for sustainable living through agility and digital transformation while being a beacon for diversity, inclusion and values-based leadership.” said Monique Miller, Purpose Programs Manager at Unilever Canada. 

Eligible businesses are welcome to apply for the BIP Social Impact Stream by August 31st, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST. To learn more about the program and apply, please visit dmz.to/socialimpact.

Media contact
Luvy Hardy, The DMZ
luvy.hardy@ryerson.ca

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About the DMZ

The DMZ is a leading startup incubator equipping the next generation of leading tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch, and scale highly impactful startups. By providing connections to customers, coaching, capital, and a community, the DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. Through its award-winning programming, the DMZ has helped more than 500 startups raise $1.37 billion in capital and create 4,200+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada with globally-accessible programming, the DMZ has a widely-recognized international presence with offices in Vietnam and India, and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

 

About Unilever Canada 

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In Canada, the portfolio includes iconic brands such as: Dove, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Degree, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, St. Ives, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.

Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how we run our company today. 

For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit www.unilever.ca 

 

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