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Promoting gender equality in scientific entrepreneurship

The École des dirigeants part of the CDL Apprentice program

February 11, 2021

The HEC Montréal École des dirigeants, through the Creative Destruction Lab-Montréal (CDL-Montréal), contributed to the first artificial intelligence (AI) module of the CDL Apprentice program, aimed at promoting gender equality in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

The module, given virtually by the team of CDL mentors on February 11, is one of 6 modules in this international program, in which girls ages 14 to 18 curious about STEM-related topics and entrepreneurship can benefit from the expertise of CDL community members (global business leaders and world-renowned scientists, engineers and economists), who share their experiences to encourage participants in their growth and development.

Each 2-hour module is led by a different CDL site. The other 5 will focus on different themes: agriculture, climate, oceans, matter and health.


Sharing exceptional AI knowledge

For the first program module, the CDL-Montréal mentors, including HEC Montréal Professor Laurent Charlin, built on their extensive and recognized knowledge in the AI field to show how AI and machine learning can be applied to solve a huge variety of problems.

Participants in one of the previous editions of the CDL Apprentice program.

They explained how pattern recognition can be used for predication, optimization and automation in such fields as computer hardware, sensors, robotics, computer vision, confidentiality and digital infrastructure.

In addition, an executive director of one of the emerging firms participating in the 2020–2021 CDL-Montréal program shared her experience as a female entrepreneur with the students.


Reversing trends

The CDL Apprentice Program was founded in 2015 to reverse trends and promote equal opportunities in STEM and entrepreneurship. For although women account for 51% of the population, they continue to be underrepresented in scientific education and careers and in the executives of start-ups.*

Since then the program has welcomed over 900 students through the CDL network, which comprises 9 post-secondary institutions in 4 countries, including the HEC Montréal École des dirigeants, through CDL-Montréal.

“We are very proud to be part of the CDL Apprentices program, aimed at promoting gender equality in STEM fields, a goal that we consider particularly important, says Serge Lafrance, Director of the HEC Montréal École des dirigeants. We know that there is still much to be done, but it is thanks to this kind of initiative that we can bring about change, one project at a time.”


For more information on the CDL Apprentices program and on CDL-Montréal.

* CDL – website