Canada and India governments launch programme to accelerate 20 startups, with a focus on Women Entrepreneurs


Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains and Dr Anita Gupta, Associate Head, NSTEDB, DST announced a new bi-lateral programme on Tuesday to support entrepreneurs from both countries - with a special bent towards promoting women entrepreneurs. The programme, that will be jointly funded by the respective ministries from Canada and India, falls under the aegis of the Canada-India S&T Agreement.

The core team at Zone Startups India

The intention of this programme would be to help the participating entrepreneurs with market access. The Indian wing of the Global accelerator Zone Startups, that is Zone Startups India - will operate this initiative on behalf of both the governments, as they have amassed a fair experience engaging with the challenges startups face, through their programmes like empoWer and the Next BIG Idea Contest. To drive this initiative, the Canadian and Indian Governments have jointly funded the program, to identify 20 startups annually over the next two years and support them with a market access programme.

“DST, the government of India are pleased to partner with Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada to accelerate innovation value chain and technology commercialization through initiatives havi a g special focus on women entrepreneurs of both the countries. Such a bilateral engagement facilitated by key stakeholders, govt, accelerators, incubators and companies aim to lead ways for better economic and social development of both the countries,” says Dr Anita Gupta, Scientist – G, Advisor, Associate Head, NSTEDB, DST, Government of India.

Zone Startups, operated by Toronto-based Ryerson Futures Inc., operates multiple accelerators in India and Canada, and is partly funded by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, in the former.

While 'empoWer, India’s first tech accelerator for women entrepreneurs, is now mentoring its second batch of startups founded by women entrepreneurs taking the total up to 35; the Next BIG Idea Contest provides a soft-landing in Toronto and thereby North American market access to Indian startups. Both these programmes have had great success stories, and have emerged to be proven platforms for enabling growth of early stage startups.

"We believe that the potential of startups, in today's day and age, tends to be global markets. However, not many have the opportunities and support required to launch their product and services outside their home market. Through this programme, we are hoping to open newer markets for startups on both sides of the border in terms of new clients, talent and capital access. With our strong footprint and network in Canada and India, we are well positioned to help companies from both countries to grow in a new market,” says Matt Saunders, President, Zone Startups.

“We are proud to be identified as the enabling bridge between the two countries, to build a culture of entrepreneurs, and a network of startups. Our endeavor is to be able to identify hi-tech, hi-potential startups and provide them with 360 degrees support to help them grow their businesses," says Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director (India), Zone Startups, signing off.


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