The DMZ and Ryerson’s Zone Startups win at the 2016 FinTech Awards
On November 21 at the 2016 FinTech Awards, external link, opens in new window, the DMZ and Ryerson Zone Startups, external link, opens in new window were recognized for their support of fintech in Canada. The DMZ was named “Accelerator, Incubator or Entrepreneurial Network Most Supportive of FinTech.” Ryerson’s Zone Startups received the award for “Academic Institution Most Supportive of Fintech.” The event was held by the Digital Finance Institute, external link, opens in new window, a think tank that focuses on the next generation of financial services.
The DMZ was selected among three finalists that included Communitech and the MaRS Discovery District. The Digital Finance Institute cited the DMZ as an incubator that has demonstrated success in feeding innovation and economic progress in the fintech ecosystem. Since the DMZ opened its doors in 2010, it has incubated more than 260 startups, including fintech companies Borrowell, external link, opens in new window and Sensibill, external link, opens in new window who joined through the Ryerson Futures founders-first accelerator program, external link, opens in new window.
Ryerson’s Zone Startups operates under Ryerson Futures, which is the university’s business accelerator. Since its launch in 2010, Ryerson Futures has incubated more than 125 companies. Zone Startups runs programs for large corporations including GE, Barclays and Axis Bank.
“The financial services sector accounts for seven per cent of Canada’s GDP and over 250,000 jobs,” said Matt Saunders, president and managing director, Ryerson Futures. “Ryerson Futures, like the DMZ, and our partners see the potential and opportunities in fintech – we’re dedicated to supporting innovation in this space and help the industry’s continued growth in Canada.”
This year, the DMZ partnered with BMO to offer a fully connected community for fintech startups with its Next Big Idea in FinTech, external link, opens in new window program, the first of its kind in Canada. Announced in April 2016, the program identified six startups that received an exclusive opportunity to pilot their technology with the leading financial institution, and offered introductions to venture capital groups that may be willing to take their startup to the next level. As a result of the program’s success, the DMZ will be announcing a fintech accelerator program in 2017, which will be the first of its kind in Canada.
“We are honoured to be the recipient of the 2016 Accelerator, Incubator or Entrepreneurial Network Award,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ. “By fostering emerging technologies from entrepreneurs, Ryerson University continues to be recognized for its robust and thriving hub for innovation in many verticals including fintech. Ryerson’s zone learning program, opens in new window has created a collaborative network for innovators, which has led to new opportunities in the global marketplace for our home-grown companies.”