CDL Apprentice Program Founding Partner – Scotiabank

Scotiabank company logo

The Apprentice Program is an initiative of the Creative Destruction Lab that aims to support young women-identified individuals including two-spirit, transgender and non-binary individuals interested in STEM and entrepreneurship.

Women represent ~50% of the population yet continue to be underrepresented in technical studies and careers with less than ~3% of venture capital being deployed to solely women-led startups*. The CDL community is committed to sharing its collective knowledge and experience to support students in fostering an entrepreneurship mindset and encouraging growth in the innovation ecosystem.

Beginning in 2022/23, Scotiabank’s partnership will help to support programming focused on STEM and entrepreneurship for young women+ individuals (14-18yrs) from all backgrounds and experiences, driving CDL’s mission to ignite greater gender diversity in these fields..

*PitchBook: The US VC Female Founders Dashboard

The vision of the CDL Apprentice Program is to create an immersive, technology-focused learning experience for young students that expands their awareness of possible career paths, and increases the probability that young women+ individuals pursue opportunities in STEM, business and entrepreneurship. This experience seeks to support students in their growth and development.

CDL Apprentice Program Application

Learning to Learn

Understanding of Technology & Industry Application

‘I can transform curiosity into knowledge’

  • Learn how science and technology are used to solve real-world problems
  • Develop science and technology literacy – comprehension of basic terms and ideas

Learning to Do

Awareness of careers in STEM

‘I know how to apply what I learn’

  • Discover an array of careers in STEM through experiential applied learning
  • Exposure to unique career paths in science and technology

Learning to Be

Develop leadership potential

‘I see myself in you’

  • Engage with role models (experts, innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs in STEM) for self-development
  • Practice leadership and entrepreneurial skills through public speaking

CDL Apprentice Program Structure

Students accepted into the CDL Apprentice Program will receive access to online Emerging Technology Modules. Select students may also be invited to attend an in-person CDL Session days (through an additional application process).

Emerging Technology Modules (Virtual)

Geared toward individuals understanding the ‘simple’ economics of an emerging technology area – specifically, the essential costs and benefits that change with the adoption of the new technology and in turn, the types of industries, businesses, investments and jobs that are likely to be impacted. Students will have the opportunity to observe these 2-hour modules and receive exclusive backstage access to debrief with a world-class thought leader after each session.

CDL Sessions (In-Person)

Select students may have the opportunity to attend a CDL Session day at one of CDL’s 13 global locations. Students shadow CDL Mentors to gain insight into the fast-paced entrepreneurship world by observing objectives-setting meetings where mentors provide advice to startups. Students will be exposed to the types of questions that investors pose to founders, learn about the process of building a company, and gain a greater appreciation for the types of skills and attitudes necessary to found a startup that harnesses cutting-edge advancements in science and technology. Acceptance into the CDL Apprentice Program does not guarantee an invitation to an in-person CDL Session. Please note that in-person sessions are capacity-dependent and have an additional application process highlighted in the application form. Students selected to join an in-person session will be contacted by a CDL site directly.

Students who participate in the program (a combination of any of the online modules, and/or an in person session) will receive their CDL Apprentice Badge and a Letter of Achievement.

CDL Apprentice Program Application

CDL Apprentice Program Mentors

Christine Tovee
Consultant, CATx Technology

Eva Lau
Founding and General Partner, Two Small Fish Ventures

Kathleen Sullivan
Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Microsoft Health Futures

Neil Wainwright
CEO, Collavidence Inc.

Bettina Pierre-Gilles
Founder, President & CEO, Luxeum Renewables Group Inc.

Brenda Irwin
Managing Partner, Relentless Pursuit Partners

Kory Mathewson
Research Scientist, DeepMind

Millicent Pitts
Executive Director, Ocean Exchange

Ideal CDL Apprentice Program Students

The ideal candidates are young women+* individuals between 14-18 years of age. A curious, open-minded person who enjoys testing ideas and solving problems – someone looking to connect with others with similar interests in STEM, business and entrepreneurship. Students must have a parent/guardian sign a participation agreement to access the CDL community.

*+including two-spirit, transgender and non-binary individuals

CDL Apprentice zoom call

“I have definitely learned to be more creative in my thought processing. A lot of great inventions (including ones in the online modules) all start from an idea and are expanded on. I want to take more time to look at things from different perspectives and not close myself off from any potential pathways, even if it’s not the career I initially planned.”

CDL Apprentice Student, re: Emerging Technology Modules

“Before attending the CDL program, I thought AI could only be applied to math or directly solving computer science problems but this program showed me that AI is so diverse and can be used anywhere and for any purpose.”

CDL Apprentice Student, re: Emerging Technology Modules

Former CDL Apprentice Program Participants

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


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


Through CDL’s mission to transform science projects into massively scalable products and services that benefit humankind, a unique opportunity was formed. In 2015, CDL invited young women with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and entrepreneurship to participate in the CDL program.

Since its inception, the program has hosted over 900 students across the CDL network, which includes nine post-secondary institutions in four countries.

Questions for the CDL Apprentice Program 

Please direct any questions to