TORONTO – DMG, a Toronto-based video game arts nonprofit, has launched the Damage Labs Studio Startup pre-accelerator to help marginalized founders create new game studios in Canada.
The Studio Startup program addresses a real and urgent issue: The financial stability and independence of marginalized Canadian creatives working in interactive digital media.
The social, economic and cultural upheaval caused by the global pandemic has only buoyed the games industry, with consumer spending, employment and revenues up as more people than ever play games to stay social and occupied while distancing. But issues that have challenged the industry for decades persist: Many workers are underpaid, exploited and harassed; corporate culture in large studios does not prepare or truly support marginalized leaders; racism, especially anti-Black racism, and sexism are pervasive and drive talent out of the industry. The industry’s outsized economic impact, along with the gendered effects of COVID-19, intensify these inequities.
DMG believes empowering new founders to lead will change the industry from the outside in.
About the Program
The six-month Studio Startup program will provide free training and coaching on traditional and alternative business structures, concept and product development, and accessing repayable social finance investment. The program will focus on a tailored, independent approach to founding and scaling game studio startups, rather than growth at all costs.
Program priorities include:
- Creating long-term social and cultural impact through the facilitation of education in social finance investment and social innovation
- Creating vital new networks amongst creative talent, business owners, funders, investors and platform holders
- Transferring tacit knowledge from successful entrepreneurs to new founders, with an emphasis on ethical labour frameworks, alternative financing and cooperative corporate structures
- Materially and sustainably improving the lives of marginalized creators working in interactive digital media and games in Canada
- Contributing to systemic change in the games industry that will result in more resources, autonomy and liberation for everyone, prioritizing those who have been excluded from and harmed by it
Mentor studios include Capy Games, TRU LUV, KO_OP, The Glory Society, Beans, Clever Endeavour Games, Glow Up Games, Outerloop Games and more to be announced.
A track record of supporting marginalized game developers and delivering high-quality educational programming has allowed DMG to secure partners, advisors and funders that will provide critical resources and support. These partners will be announced in the coming weeks.
DMG is a not-for-profit video game arts organization that supports people historically excluded from tech and game spaces – especially gender-marginalized and racialized people – to make, play and critique video games within a cultural context.
Founded in 2012, DMG teaches computing skills for artistic expression, offers production and exhibition facilities, and provides community support for the creation of new artworks. The DMG space in Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood is a community hub engaging creators and the public with the expressive potential of this medium.