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BMO and 1871 Support Progress of Women-Led Startups with Call for New WMNfintech Applications
[March 04, 2024]

BMO and 1871 Support Progress of Women-Led Startups with Call for New WMNfintech Applications

  • WMNfintech is North America's largest nonprofit financial technology (fintech) accelerator for women-led startups, developed by BMO and 1871.
  • Applications are open from March 1-April 15, 2024.
  • Founders will pitch prospective partners and investors at the world's largest tech hub in August.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 4, 2024 /CNW/ - BMO and 1871 today announced a call for applications for its annual WMNfintech program, the largest non-profit fintech industry program in North America for women-founded and women-led startups. Designed to help women in fintech make financial progress, the program bridges the gender gap in the startup and tech community by giving entrepreneurs access to a powerful ecosystem focused on helping them grow their business and bring innovative technologies and products forward that support the financial sector.

New this year, BMO will host the program's final showcase at BMO's Bay Area office in front of various stakeholders, banking partners, regulators, and trade groups. In the past, BMO has brought together organization such as the State of California's Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, the State of Illinois's Department of Financial & Professional Regulation and The American Bankers Association. To qualify, fintech companies must be women-founded or women-led and have – or soon be launching – a brand presence in the United States. Founders may apply here.

"Now gearing up to launch our fifth cohort, WMNfintech has emerged as the best ecosystem in North America that connects women founders with resources and relationships to grow their businesses, pitch products and services, and create real opportunities to secure capital so they can thrive," said Andrew Harrison, Head of U.S. Digital Partners at BMO. "I'm so proud of our relationship with 1871 and can confidently say that each year, we are delivering on our commitment to make progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society by supporting women who are transforming financial services."

Five companies will be selected to participate in the WMNfintech program, which is designed to support the progress of women founders by:

  • Delivering curated fintech-amplified workshops.
  • Offering curriculum focused on enterprise sales cycles, vendor management, information security, risk and regulatory requirements, onboarding, financial management, and media training delivered by BMO.
  • Creating the opportunity to pitch investors and BMO partners for feedback, mentoring, continued connections, as well as potential access to capital and funding.
  • Granting Access to 1871's immersive educational programming, including expert-led workshops and more than 150 mentors.
  • Providing access to a six-month complimentary membership to 1871, including access to its space, resources, and roadmap of support.

"The fintech sector is undergoing an extraordinary evolution, propelled by women who are boldly pioneering innovative solutions and driving change. It's crucial for corporations to engage with these dynamic startups to spark innovation and promote the growth and acknowledgment of women in fintech," said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. "Our continued collaboration with BMO has allowed us to support and oserve the remarkable influence of women founders in our joint program, and we are excited to continue this journey."

WMNfintech's impact continues to grow each year

Since launching in 2020, women-led fintechs who have come through the program – who also have a footprint across the globe – have raised more than $35 million in capital and created over 200 jobs.

Additionally, BMO has expanded its national fintech network, developed proofs of concept, partnerships, and investments in both the fintech space and previous WMNfintech participants by:

WMNfintech strongly aligns with BMO's Zero Barriers to Inclusion strategy that supports equity, equality, and inclusion in and outside the bank. The program is also another example of BMO's Digital First strategy, focused on building a digitally-enabled, future-ready bank that drives progress for its customers, unlocks the power of its people, and delivers loyalty, growth, and efficiency.

To apply for the WMNfintech program by April 17 and learn more about the program, visit

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of January 31, 2024. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

About 1871

1871, a nonprofit global innovation hub, exists to inspire, equip, and support early-stage, growth-stage, late-stage, and corporative innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~500 early-stage startups, ~250 growth and late-stage companies, and ~60 corporates, and is supported by an entire community focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in-person access to workshops, events, mentorships, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 200 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds, and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 1,050+ alum companies are still active, have created over 14,700 jobs, and have raised more than $3.7 billion in follow-on capital.

Media Contact: Lucas Seiler, Chicago, [email protected], 312-340-8576

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SOURCE BMO Financial Group

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