DMZ and the YMCA of Greater Toronto team up to boost support for women entrepreneurs across Canada

05 October 2023

two women talking and smiling

Made possible through the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, Launchpad for Women Entrepreneurs is designed to empower early-stage women entrepreneurs interprovincially by offering dedicated resources to kickstart and grow a successful business.

TORONTO, ONTARIO, October 5, 2023 – Today, DMZ, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Toronto, is revealing Launchpad for Women Entrepreneurs, a dynamic program designed for aspiring and ideation-stage women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and industries. 

Funded by the Government of Canada, Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ and the YMCA of Greater Toronto were selected as successful recipients of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund to advance women's economic empowerment in Canada and increase the number of women-led businesses. Despite demonstrating higher returns for investors and lower fail rates, women are less likely to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and face additional barriers to accessing resources. 

In response to this, DMZ and the YMCA of Greater Toronto teamed up to develop a program for women in any industry, both tech and non-tech, to access the knowledge, skills, mentors and community needed to start and grow a successful business. Launchpad for Women Entrepreneurs is available via its on-demand self-paced learning platform nationally or through in-person sessions across Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

Depending on their growth stage, participants can join one of two pathways within Launchpad. Phase 1 of the program is for women who are in the beginning stages of exploring entrepreneurship or have an early-stage idea and covers topics like Entrepreneurship 101, Leadership Essentials and Goal Setting. Phase 2 supports women entrepreneurs with an established business concept who are ready to build a strong foundation for launch. In this phase, participants receive training in Pitch Coaching, Go-To-Market Strategy, Legal 101, and more.

“Our charity is thrilled to deliver this program for women in partnership with DMZ,”  said Lesley Davidson, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “Every day, at hundreds of in-person locations, we see people who are able to shine with support and guidance. This program provides that in the form of proven strategies that will help women overcome barriers and reach their full potential as entrepreneurs.”

"We're keen to extend DMZ’s reach to communities across Canada to empower women with the tools and knowledge to jump into entrepreneurship and build budding businesses, said Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of DMZ and CEO of DMZ Ventures."Collaborating with the YMCA of Greater Toronto couldn't be a more fitting partnership for this vital work. As a nationally recognized hub for community engagement, the YMCA is a trusted partner for underserved groups and will ensure our support reaches them and creates pathways to careers in entrepreneurship."

Aspiring and early-stage women entrepreneurs looking to take their business to new heights can sign up for Launchpad for Women Entrepreneurs here

Head to the Government of Canada's website here to learn more about the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy and successful recipients of the Ecosystem Fund. 

About DMZ

DMZ is a world-leading startup incubator based at Toronto Metropolitan University that equips the next generation of tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch, and scale highly impactful startups. By providing connections to customers, coaching, capital, and a community, DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. Through its award-winning programming, DMZ has helped more than 800 startups raise $2.54 billion in capital and create 5,000+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada with globally-accessible programming, DMZ has a widely-recognized international presence with offices in Vietnam, India, and the U.S., and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.


About YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 460 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit