The DMZ and the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) have each handed out awards to women and women-led startups this week for their contributions in the technology and private capital industries.

At its Women Founders Summit, the DMZ unveiled the winners of its annual Women of the Year award, meant to honour women in Canada’s tech community as well as highlight their accomplishments and contributions creating impact. The DMZ claims over 800 nominations for the award were submitted.

“We hope to inspire others to strive for excellence and to create a more diverse and inclusive industry.”

This year’s recipients of the DMZ’s Women of the Year award include Hanna Zaidi, chief compliance officer of payments at Wealthsimple; Katy Yam, partner at Real Ventures and general manager at FounderFuel; Natasha Walji, managing director at Google Canada; and
Brenda Okorogba, founder of Momentswithbren. You can find all of the 2023 winners here.

The DMZ’s 2023 Women Founders Summit also saw 10 startups pitch to The Firehood, an angel group dedicated to women-led tech innovations. Firehood angel investors awarded a cumulative $100,000 CAD to three finalists, which are Apricotton ($50,000), Areto Labs ($30,000), and PragmaClin ($20,000).

The three startups have achieved several of their own milestones in the past year, leading up to their win at the Women Founders Summit. In 2022, Apricotton won the Best Pitch award at Startupfest, PragmaClin won Volta’s pitch contest, and Areto Labs secured $1 million.

On Wednesday, the CVCA revealed the winners of its Woman of Achievement and Rising Woman Star awards in honour of International Women’s Day.

RELATED: An incomplete list of Canadian tech programs and organizations supporting women’s initiatives

CVCA’s Woman of Achievement Award is meant to recognize Canadian general partners and their “dedication to elevating the performance and leadership of women in the Canadian private capital industry.”

McRock Capital’s co-founder and managing partner Whitney Rockley won the Woman of Achievement award for the venture capital category. In 2017, she was the first woman to serve as chair of CVCA since the group’s inception in 1974, and spearheaded the establishment of its inaugural taskforce on diversity and inclusion.

Lisa Melchior, founder and managing partner at Vertu Capital, was named winner of the Woman of Achievement award for private equity. She has helped to invest over $1.5 billion in 25 tech companies over the course of her career and is regarded as an advocate for promoting diversity, having mentored many women in private equity for the past two decades.

The CVCA’s Rising Woman Star award recognizes people who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and contributed to improving gender diversity. The 2023 winners for this award are Alate Partners principal Courtney Cooper, who won the VC category, and Novacap’s Kristin Smith, who won the award for private equity.

Alate Partners is a private investment firm that focuses on the intersection of real estate and technology. Cooper leads investments in proptech startups while Smith leads investment opportunities in various sectors at Novacap, including technology, media, and telecommunications.

“These awards are an important way to recognize the achievements of women in our industry, and highlight the valuable contributions they make to the private capital ecosystem,” said Tracey McVicar, partner at CAI Capital Partners and chair at CVCA’s Award Committee.

“By celebrating these outstanding individuals, we hope to inspire others to strive for excellence and to create a more diverse and inclusive industry,” McVicar added.

Featured image courtesy The Firehood/DMZ.

The post Firehood hands out $100,000 in prizes as the DMZ, CVCA announce women of year awards first appeared on BetaKit.

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