For the last nine months, members of BSE Institute, Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone and Simon Fraser University, have been working hard to get the incubation centre in the country’s premier stock exchange up and running. Zone Startups India, the 2200-square feet, state-of-the-art facility overlooking the Arabian Sea on the 18th floor of Bombay Stock Exchange was formally inaugurated recently with much fanfare by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada.
This is the first Canadian-led accelerator in India today, a joint venture between the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Ltd., (BIL), Ryerson University of Toronto, Canada, Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI), and Simon Fraser University. The new incubator will assist entrepreneurs to fast-track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. This collaboration also helps lay the groundwork to help young entrepreneurs expand into both the Indian and Canadian markets and will provide assistance across a broad spectrum of areas in the domain of entrepreneurship development and professional development education.
Speaking at the launch, Ambarish Datta, MD & CEO BSE Institute Ltd, said, “India will be one of the youngest nations in the world by 2020 and this changing demographic condition, will mean that we need to gear up to provide employment to a large number of youth. We believe creating skilled entrepreneurs will be the most effective means of engaging the youth and gain full employment not only to the youth who pursue the path of entrepreneurship, but also to hundreds of youth they will in turn employ.”
The facility has the capacity to seat about 50 people. At present, eight startups are already operating from the premises. These eight startups were selected by inviting applications and after being evaluated for their product readiness. Startups working out of Zone Startups India includes mobile payment startup Citrus, medication assistant Drug IO, software suite developer for hotels Blynk and past exam solutions provider Book Street among others.
At present, for the duration of six months, the startups have free access to infrastructure at the incubator. Targets and evaluation parameters for each startup is customized and there will be weekly reviews to assess performance. Startups currently working at the incubator are happy to be part of debut batch, and would surely make the best of the opportunity.
Work is still in progress at the incubator in terms of team selection, getting the right people to head the centre, and the team that will look after day-to-day affairs of the place. Mentors from Digital Media Zone, Canada, and Simon Fraser University will be visiting the India incubator periodically to provide assistance to the startups.
The Zone Startups India has been modelled on the lines of the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University — one of Canada’s largest incubators and multidisciplinary co-working space for young entrepreneurs. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has stimulated Canada’s digital economy by incubating and accelerating 126 startups and fostering nearly 1,000 jobs.