BMO Harris Bank and 1871 opened applications for WMN•FINtech, a fintech industry program for women-led startups, as its latest evolution of their Innovation Program. Applications for the 2021 cohort will be accepted through April 19.
It launched for the first time in 2020 and is now returning for its second year. WMN•FINtech is designed to bridge the gender gap in the startup and tech community and give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring innovative technologies and products forward. BMO and 1871 co-created the program specifically for women-founded and -led startups that have developed financial products or services. Eligible startups have a woman founder or co-founder who are U.S.-based.
“Our mission at 1871 is to build a stronger, more equitable tech environment by increasing the probability of success for businesses and shortening the time frame to reach that success,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “BMO Harris Bank shares our commitment and vision. We’re proud to continue our longtime partnership with them to better support women entrepreneurs working in the financial sector.”
“One of the best things about WMN•FINtech is the learning that results on both sides,” said Ben Schack, head of digital partnerships for BMO Harris Bank. “Both founders and BMO team members who participated in last year’s WMN•FINtech cohort shared positive feedback on their experiences. The founders gain access to industry expertise and build long-standing relationships. For BMO, it’s an opportunity to continue supporting innovative, customer-centric technologies that have the power to transform the banking experience.”
The WMN•FINtech Program
The program will provide selected startups with:
- A three-month program with guidance from industry experts at BMO Harris Bank, including an executive champion with leadership guidance
- A four-month membership and working space at 1871, the number one private business incubator in the world
- Curriculum focused on enterprise sales cycles, vendor management, information security and risk and regulatory requirements
- The opportunity to pitch venture capital investors for feedback, mentoring, continued connections and/or funding
Participants will also have access to 1871’s PYROS platform, a 12-week series of workshops, seminars and one-to-one mentoring. Built for founders at all stages, PYROS will help them gain and grow customers and investor traction. PYROS will offer WMN•FINtech participants a path to scale financial technology or service business.
The program includes a pitch day designed for startups to gather feedback from and network with BMO senior executives. Participants may also have a potential future opportunity to pilot their product with BMO.
WMN•FINtech strongly aligns with BMO’s focus on breaking down gender-based barriers and investing in women. Learn more about BMO’s support for women entrepreneurs and purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.
WMN•FINtech applications are due by April 19, 2021. More information and the application can be found here.
About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 500 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the United States. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, visit the company fact sheet. Accounts are subject to approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a diversified financial services provider with total assets of CDN$973 billion.
1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early-stage, growth scalers, and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. Supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area, 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~300 growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members. The member experience includes virtual and in-person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds, and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.