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DMZ’s 2024 Women Innovation Summit and Pitch Competition

Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ announced its second annual Women Innovation Summit on March 7, 2024, in honor of International Women’s Day, the event is designed to empower and celebrate women in entrepreneurship with their allies. The Women Innovation Summit will be a full day of activities fusing connection and innovation at DMZ’s HQ in Toronto. There will be a series of roundtable discussions uniting women founders and industry partners. Additionally, there will be a pitch competition for women-led startups to secure funding to support their next stage of growth and the unveiling of DMZ’s Women of the Year award winners.

“Building off the success of our inaugural Women Innovation Summit and DMZ’s commitment to fuel women-led innovation, our 2024 Summit has been crafted to raise the bar, introducing new programming elements like our curated roundtable discussions,” said Emily Smiley, Director of Partnerships and Investor Relations. “Our goal is to celebrate and empower women innovators – and the champions that support them – to create an impact that extends far beyond the Summit.” 

The Firehood and DMZ team up

The Firehood is a national network for women in technology that offers professional development and funding for women-led businesses. The organization is teaming up with DMZ on the Summit for a second year and has committed $100,000 in cash investments for the Women Innovation Pitch Competition.  

“At The Firehood, we are dedicated to engaging accredited women angel investors that support women entrepreneurs. I’m thrilled to collaborate with DMZ on the Women Innovation Summit again in 2024. As we embark on this journey another year, I emphasize the continued importance of angel funding for women founders. The funding builds innovative ideas, resilient entrepreneurs and tolerance for risk,” says Claudette McGowan, CEO at Protexxa and Co-Founder at The Firehood.

Women Innovation Pitch Competition

The Women Innovation Pitch Competition is open to women founders across Canada. The judges will select 25 women founders to receive two pitch advisory sessions, marketing and PR opportunities and the chance to join curated roundtable discussions at the Summit. Of the 25, the top 10 women-led startups will pitch to The Firehood’s angel investors to secure cash investments. The inaugural 2023 Women Innovation Summit awarded funding to three women-led startups from across Canada: ApricottonAreto Labs and PragmaClin

“The Firehood was beyond impressed with the caliber of applicants from last year’s Summit. Through our partnership with DMZ, we look forward to providing more leading women innovators with the connections, guidance and capital from The Firehood to champion their fundraising efforts”, says Danielle Graham, Co-Founder of The Firehood.

DMZ’s Women of the Year Award

DMZ’s annual Women of the Year award honors inspirational women creating impact in tech. The list of award winners is curated by the tech community and recognizes innovative women from diverse backgrounds and industries. This includes startup founders and corporate and non-profit leaders. DMZ’s 2024 Women of the Year Award recipients will receive marketing and PR opportunities. They receive an invitation to join an exclusive DMZ Women of The Year breakfast event with fellow winners to celebrate their collective accomplishments as leading women in tech. DMZ officially unveils winners at the Women Innovation Summit.

“As a recipient of DMZ’s Women Of The Year 2023, it was an honor to have received this award. The event was a profound experience. Witnessing the remarkable pitches at the competition and connecting with dedicated trailblazers addressing the funding gap left a lasting impression. We feel grateful for the powerful insights and the community driving change,” said Kelly Emery, Founder of Troop and 2023 DMZ Women of the Year award winner.  


DMZ is a world-leading startup incubator based at Toronto Metropolitan University. The organization equips the next generation of tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch and scale impactful startups. DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. The organization provides connections to customers, coaching, capital and a community. Through its award-winning programming, DMZ has helped more than 820 startups raise $2.55 billion in capital and create 5,000+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with globallyaccessible programming, DMZ has a widely recognized international presence. The organization has offices in Vietnam, India and the U.S. and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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