New market access program will introduce Indian and Canadian female founders to new opportunities

A new program will allow female startup founders to have the opportunity to engage with the Zone Startups global accelerator program and be selected to participate in an international market access program later this year. The initiative is a result of a partnership between Ryerson Futures, the Canadian government’s Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, as well as India’s Department of Science and Technology.

“Canadian founders are some of the most well-rounded and ambitious in the world,” says Matt Saunders, President of Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups. “We’re excited to be able to expand our programming and support for these startups as they grow and thrive in a new market.”

The announcement was made by Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, members of the Indian Department of Science and Technology, along with representatives of Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups India. The collaboration further fosters the relationship between Canada and India to create an active, global startup community.

“Innovation is about finding solutions, and great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone,” says Minister Bains. “We cannot ignore half of our world’s population as we strive to find solutions to the problems of today and create the jobs of tomorrow. Canadian companies are increasingly exploring India as a destination for investment and we are proud to participate in a partnership that will help even more startups expand beyond Canada’s borders.”

The program’s launch follows the success of Zone Startups India’s Next Big Idea Contest, which saw more than 40 founders over the last five years travel to Canada to make valuable connections as part of their expansion into the North American market. The Canadian and Indian governments allotted a combined $1 million to the project, with the goal of engaging with 100 companies from Canada and India over the next two years.

“The Department of Science and Technology with the Government of India is pleased to partner with the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada to accelerate innovation, value chain, and technology commercialization through initiatives having special focus on women entrepreneurs of both our countries,” said Dr. Anita Gupta, Advisor and Associate Head of the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, with the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology. “Such a bilateral engagement facilitated by key stakeholders, government, accelerators, incubators, and companies aims to lead ways for the better economic and social development of both countries.”

Female founders who have demonstrated traction and ability to scale in their respective markets and are looking for international expansion will be chosen and have the opportunity to participate this multi-year market access program. Canadian founders will travel to India, with Indian founders travelling to Canada, to meet with customers and investors, and receive hands-on strategic and tactical guidance in both locations.

“Ryerson University is pleased to support the objectives of the federal government and be the bridge to international markets such as India for young Canadian entrepreneurs,” says Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University. “As home to the DMZ, ranked the third best university-based incubator in the world, we have the experience and expertise to educate and train young innovators for success in India, Canada and elsewhere. The focus in today’s announcement on women entrepreneurs acknowledges the importance of inclusivity in our future prosperity.