Zone Startups India, a leading startup accelerator in India, has been operating the annual Next BIG Idea (NBI) Contest for the past 5 years. The Next BIG Idea contest presents an opportunity to tech startups from India, to tap into the North American market through a soft landing in Canada. The contest identifies high growth potential Indian startups at an early stage through an application-based process, and acts as a gateway to North America. Through a structured program, the contest winners get to validate their business model, get access to local mentors, corporates, investors and Government Representatives in Canada.
This year, 13 technology startups from a pool of over 1100 applications have been chosen for the Indo-Canada Bilateral Entrepreneurship exchange program and the winners will travel to Canada in November for the 2-week market access program.
During the winner announcement, Dr. Naveen Vasishta, Scientist E, NEB Division, Department of Science and Technology said “The Department of Science and Technology, GOI is partnering with the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada to accelerate the growth of emerging hi-potential technology startups from India & Canada. Under the program, the selected companies will be visiting Canada for a market access program to collaborate and develop product/solutions for the benefit of both Indian & Canadian economy. It was a great experience to see the top 50 companies selected for the boot camp were ready for the global expansion, we are happy to see such companies are emerging and Identified by Zone Startups India for the bilateral programs.”
“I am pleased to welcome 13 Indian companies to Canada as part of the Next Big Idea contest. The companies will make connections that will help them build their businesses. At the same time, they will get to experience Canada’s outstanding entrepreneurial ecosystem and our openness to ideas and people,” Said Ms. Tara Scheurwater, Acting Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner.
Established as a joint-initiative with the Government of Ontario, Canada, the contest has gone onto attract industry partners such as IBM, Amazon Web Services, HDFC Bank, Google and TCS. The Indo – Canada bilateral entrepreneurship exchange program was added as a new dimension in the 6th edition of Next BIG Idea contest 2018. The contest is sponsored by Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and supported by Global Affairs Canada, Provincial Governments of Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is the Canadian industry sponsor of NBI 2018 and the bank will be hosting the tending companies at their Toronto Headquarters. Additionally, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is also supporting 3 Kerala based startups to participate in NBI 2018.
Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India said, “Over the years, the Next BIG Idea contest has become an ecosystem development initiative for us, and leveraging our presence in Canada and India, we are able to provide a great market entry for India startups aspiring to tap into the North American economy. Being able to get the Next BIG Idea Contest to become a part of a larger cross-border initiative, supported by 2 Governments, is a major validation for us, with respect to building an international startup bridge. 1,100 applications is a lot, and it came by virtue to extensive roadshows conducted across 20 Indian cities – many of them being tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The fact that each year we are able to attract more applications, only shows the burgeoning reputation of the contest, and the increasing interest of Indian startups in Canada.”
Over the past five years, the contest has supported 27 companies to softland in Canada & winners have made significant progress, having and have raised over $300 mn cumulatively – some of the notable alumni are CitrusPay, Vidooly, Konotor, ShieldSquare, Flip Technologies, Sequretek, Plackal, Heckyl, AlgoEngines, and DataResolve. The contest thrives on its ability to identify winners at an early stage, and backing them all the way.
While sharing the journey of Next BIG Idea Contest, Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India said, “This year was more special, as we held a week-long bootcamp in Mumbai with the to-50 startups. Founders were not only able to be a part of evaluations done by industry advisors and investors but, also got a good understanding of the opportunities in Canada, through talks and meetings with representatives from the Canadian federal and provincial governments. We look forward to making the program bigger and contributing to more success stories, of Indian startups going global through such initiatives.”
The winners of the NBI 2018:
The Next BIG Idea Contest is an important annual feature of Zone Startups India’s calendar of a bevy of programs, and the team looks at it as an ecosystem development initiative that helps Indian startups gain exposure to international markets.
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