How It Works

The High School Girls Program offers young women the opportunity to learn, in a hands-on way, about the world of science and technology-based entrepreneurship. Accepted students are invited to attend one of the CDL’s Session days where they are matched with a CDL Fellow or Associate (their mentor) whom they will shadow for the day. They will observe their mentor conduct short one-on-one meetings with a variety of ventures during which time they will get to see how ventures explain their businesses to the mentor and what types of questions and advice the mentor offers. They will also observe the large group session in which multiple Fellows and Associates engage in a moderated discussion about each of the ventures in the cohort. Through their participation in a CDL session day, students will learn about the process of launching and scaling a technology-based start-up, how to effectively engage with mentors in time-constrained settings, and will gain an appreciation for the enormous opportunities that can result from the successful commercialization of scientific breakthroughs. There is no cost to participate in this program and applications are open to any student registered in a secondary school. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the event location.

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Each CDL site works with a contingent of notable mentors including Patrick Pichette (former CFO of Google), Col. Chris Hadfield (astronaut), Maryanna Saenko (Co-Founder, Future Ventures), T. Chen Fong (Co-Founder, Calgary Scientific Inc.), and others. A full list of the participating mentors by location can be seen here; Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Oxford, Toronto, and Vancouver.

About the Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab is a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. The CDL gives companies access to a set of world-class mentors – called Fellows and Associates – who provide mentorship and guidance by setting 8-week objectives for the companies. The CDL program runs for 9 months, with five full-day on-site sessions operating approximately every 8 weeks.

Since the program was launched in 2012, over 1,000 founders representing more than 500 companies have participated. Notable alumni include EZ Robot, Focals by North, Borealis Wind, Ingu Solutions, Xanadu, OTI Lumionics, and Neuraura.

“My experience at Creative Destruction Lab was absolutely unreal. From the moment I walked through the door, I knew I was walking into something life-changing, and I was right.”

Catarina Leite, Toronto, ON

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Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates have an interest in science and technology, are keen to learn about entrepreneurship and are comfortable speaking in public (students are often asked to introduce themselves to a room of entrepreneurs, scientists and investors). The program selects participants through a competitive application process. Students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and extracurricular activities and who provide evidence of ambition, perseverance, or service to their communities will be given preference.

Upcoming Sessions & Deadlines

There are five CDL locations that, together, host over 300 students per year. Begin by identifying the location and Session date to which you would like to apply.  In order to be considered for participation at a specific CDL Session, your application must be submitted at least 16 days before the date you would like to attend. For any questions, please contact the site program coordinator for the location to which you are applying to.

Location and Contact Information

  • Calgary: Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Kari Gordon
  • Halifax: Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Kelsie Johnston
  • Montreal: HEC Montréal, Université de Montréal, Berenice Alanis
  • Toronto: Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Valerie Chiykowski
  • Vancouver: Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Lisa Mah

Hear What Past Participants Have to Say

5 Reasons Why Startups Fail by Tanisha Bassan who shadowed Ash Munshi, former CTO of Yahoo

Read more

The real key to creating a high-impact business by Ananya Chadha who shadowed Ken Nickerson, CEO of iBinary and Board Member at OMERS Ventures

Read more

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Information for Parents and Teachers

  • To participate, students must submit a liability and media release waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
  • CDL Sessions take place on weekdays, and may, therefore, require students to be excused from classes.
  • Transportation to and from CDL Sessions is the responsibility of the parent or teacher chaperone. CDL Sessions always take place on a university campus.
  • There is no cost to participate and lunch and snacks are provided.