BMO Harris Bank and 1871 today issued a nationwide call to apply for WMN•FINtech, a fintech industry program for women-led startups and the latest evolution of the BMO Harris / 1871 Innovation Program.
Applications for the 2021 cohort will be accepted through April 19.
Launched for the first time in 2020 and now returning for its second year, WMN•FINtech was designed to help bridge the gender gap in the startup and tech community and give more 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 products or services for the financial sector. Eligible startups have a woman founder or cofounder and 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, and 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 the founders and the BMO team members who participated in last year's inaugural WMN•FINtech cohort shared very positive feedback on their experiences and learnings. 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 program will provide selected startups with:
A three-month program with guidance from industry experts at BMO Harris Bank, including an executive champion who will offer leadership guidance
A four-month membership and working space at 1871, the number one private business incubator in the world1
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
1 UBI Global, World Rankings Report, 2019-2020, https://resources.ubi-global.com/hubfs/Publications/Rankings/UBI%20Global%20-%20Rankings%201920%20v2.pdf.
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 to help them gain and grow customers and investor traction. PYROS will offer WMN•FINtech participants with 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.