DMZ, Canada’s leading technology accelerator, and BMO have announced the winners of the DMZ Small Business Challenge, powered by BMO, an opportunity to foster innovation and growth by identifying Canadian startups offering solutions in the small business banking sector.

Of the seven finalists who had the opportunity to pitch their business in front of judges, three winners were named:

First place: TAKU Labs, cross-platform retail POS to help stores manage sales, inventory and online presence, prize of $15K

Second place: Spiffy, helping businesses create more five-star experiences by engaging and educating teams on restaurant items in order to sell 10-20 per cent more, prize of $10K

Third place: Remitr, a stress-free alternative to wire transfers for businesses with costs as low as a dollar, prize of $5K

“At BMO, we’re focused on supporting the entrepreneurial community and looking for ways to help drive the innovation economy forward,” said Hugh McKee, Head, BMO Partners, BMO Bank of Montreal. “This is an exciting time in the technology space – there is an incredible amount of talent and opportunity. We look forward to seeing what each company will accomplish and looking for opportunities to work with some of these companies to explore technology driven opportunities to improve the experience for our customers.”

“The selected seven finalists received customized one-on-one’s with BMO experts that provided a valuable perspective on industry trends and opportunities to develop certain aspects of their business,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ. “Partnerships and innovation are key to supporting startups, and we look forward to seeing how the winners will work alongside BMO to improve the way Canadian small businesses are supported.”

Along with the pitch competition, the finalists benefitted from:

  • Curated one-on-one conversation with three different functions of BMO, including the partnerships team on navigating the bank, the InfoSec & Privacy team, and Senior Leaders who spoke to BMO’s internal business priorities within small business banking
  • Three intimate fireside conversations exploring how BMO works with corporate partners and startups
  • A panel of experts within the VC community shared their unique perspective on the fintech landscape and the evolving relationship between banks and startups

“The DMZ Small Business Banking Challenge, powered by BMO, provided us invaluable connections and insight on providing better services to small businesses in Canada,” said Karen Wong, co-founder and CEO, TAKU Labs. “The DMZ’s commitment to building bridges between BMO and startups has helped accelerate our growth as a company and understand ways to work better with financial institutions and other corporates.”

The DMZ is a leading business incubator for tech startups in Canada. They help startups build great businesses by connecting them with customers, capital, experts and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.

The DMZ is a partner in StartUp Here Toronto.