Thank you for your interest in the CDL High School Girls Program. CDL is committed to providing opportunities for young women to be immersed in the world of science and technology-based entrepreneurship.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, CDL has moved to a virtual programming environment and has turned its attention to contributing to the crisis response, applying its proven model to assist with public health and economic recovery through a newly launched Rapid Response Innovation Program – CDL Recovery.

At this time, the High School Girls Program is paused to allow CDL to focus on supporting those entrepreneurs and startups to rapidly translate science into solutions. “Novel crises require novel responses,” says Ajay Agrawal, Professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and founder of Creative Destruction Lab. The student program will return to CDL in January 2021.

Sign up here to be notified when applications open for the High School Girls Program for students between 14-18 years of age.

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Ideal Student

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.

How It Works

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.

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 Creative Destruction Lab

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies.

The nine-month program employs an objectives-based mentoring process to enhance the performance of technical founders who learn from the insights of experienced entrepreneurs, with the goal of maximizing equity-value creation. The program combines 5 elements to help companies transition from science projects to scalable and financeable companies:

  • An emphasis on objective-setting, helping companies focus on what’s most important to their business
  • Focused mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs who have founded, led, and sold significant tech companies
  • Technical advice from world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists
  • Hands-on support from top business students, who embed within the company to provide business support
  • Opportunities to raise capital, including angels and VCs from Europe and North America

Since the program was launched in 2012, over 2,800 founders representing more than 1,500 companies have participated. Notable alumni include EcoPackers , Sheertex, Bridgit  North, Borealis Wind, 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

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, Malaika Kapur
  • 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

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.