Mumbai-based Zone Startups India, which conducts accelerator programmes for startups in India and Canada, will help both governments launch an exchange programme for entrepreneurs and a boot camp for nascent enterprises, it said in a release. Both governments will together fund the two initiatives.
Under the exchange programme, Zone Startups will first help the governments select 40 startups based out of both countries over two years (20 annually), the release said. After selection, teams from the chosen startups will undergo mentoring and market-access programmes in the other country (India or Canada), a spokesperson of Zone Startups said. The initiative will display an increased focus on startups founded by women entrepreneurs, the release added.
“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 footprints and networks in Canada and India, we are well-positioned to help companies from both countries to grow in a new market,” Matt Saunders, president of Zone Startups said in the release.
At the same time, Zone Startups will help both the governments select another 30 startups each from both the countries for a boot camp, the spokesperson added.
The bilateral initiatives, falling under the Canada-India S&T (science and technology) Agreement, will be conducted on the watch of India’s Department of Science and Technology and Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The funding for both the programmes will come from these governmental bodies.
Zone Startups was set up in 2014 as a joint venture of BSE Institute Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of exchange services provider BSE Ltd, and Canada-headquartered accelerator Ryerson Futures Inc. It runs one programme each with BSE Ltd, Barclays Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and news firm Thomson Reuters.
In 2016, Zone Startups started an accelerator programme called empoWer that identifies and supports women entrepreneurs. In October 2017, Zone Startups announced it had selected 15 women entrepreneurs out of 376 applications for the second cohort of its accelerator programme, empoWer.
Another five-year-old programme called ‘Next Big India Contest’ identifies Indian tech startups every year and provides them with a market-access trip to Canada.
In June last year, Zone Startups launched an early-stage venture capital fund to back software startups focusing on mobile tech and enterprise tech. Christened as Zone Startups India Fund, the fund is backed by Toronto-based startup accelerator Ryerson Futures, an investment arm of Ryerson University and the Chokhani family office.
In September 2017, Mumbai-based real estate developer Lodha Group and Zone Startups launched an accelerator programme called Palava Accelerator focusing on consumer-tech, realty-tech and smart-city technology ventures.
In December last year, Zone Startups announced seed funding for three startups founded by women entrepreneurs.
Last month, Kerala Startup Mission, the state government’s nodal agency for encouraging startups, launched an accelerator programme in collaboration with Zone Startups.