New program aims to scale Black-led tech startups across Canada

Dream Legacy Foundation (DLF), an organization that runs innovative programs to boost entrepreneurship within the Black Community, and Ryerson University’s business incubator for tech startups worldwide DMZ, have announced a new three-month program designed to support Black founders looking to accelerate their tech startup’s growth. 

The newly launched Black Innovation Connections program (Connections) will focus on helping Black founders establish product-market fit, attract talent, and secure investment funds. 

Supported by a $3 million Government of Canada investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and the Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund, the Connections program will provide Black founders with a track-based coaching program customized to address their needs and the business barriers Black-led startups often face. 

Participating founders will receive peer-to-peer and mentorship sessions, exclusive access to DMZ events, access to office and hotel space, loan assessment opportunities, pitch opportunities through Black Innovation Capital, and a $5,000 grant.

“The time is now. We’re thrilled to be expanding our Black Innovation Programs, and have no doubt that Connections will unlock even more opportunities for Black founders,” said Janey Buzugbe, head of the Black Innovation Programs and Partnerships at the DMZ. “Support from the Government of Canada will help the DMZ and Dream Legacy Foundation empower the next wave of Black-led startups through coaching, mentorship, and financial support — resources that have been systematically inaccessible to the Black community for far too long.”

The program’s inaugural cohort will kick off on February 14, 2022, with 15 selected Black-led tech startups. More information on the program and a link to apply can be found here. The Winter 2022 cohort intake has commenced, however, eligible startups are welcome to apply for a late start, DMZ noted.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the river Yamuna on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing fanatic who also loves to prepare beautiful, healthy and delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not. Can be contacted at psehgal@itwc.ca or 647.695.3494.

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