The Global Startup Awards (GSA) has finally come to SAARC for the very first time. The GSA is one of the most prestigious global awards in the startup ecosystem, and is held across 60+ countries.

Nominations for the award are free of any charge and it has already started. Nelson Vasanth is the co-founder and CEO of GSA - SAARC. The key members of SAARC chapters are Nitin Sethi – Chief advisor & Digital officer, Abhay Tandon – Chief Innovative Officer, Ranjeet Kumar – Chief Marketing Officer and Alok Medikepura Anil – Head of Entrepreneurship. Past global winners include Grab, Speedinvest, Rainmaking Loft among others.

The GSA Community is backed by Google, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, SAP and other leading Tech companies of the world

The GSA is the largest independent startup ecosystem competition across the world. The GSA’s only agenda is to find and recognize the next 1% of startups across the world, who will have a transformative impact on the digital future. With its extensive outreach and amazing global network, GSA ensures that its winners are able to connect with potential partners, investors, peers, and other unprecedented opportunities.

Although this is the first season of the GSA SAARC Awards, the award started in 2012 in Denmark and has since branched out across regions including ASEAN, Central Europe, EuroAsia, Southern Africa, and South Europe.

The format of the award is fairly simple yet comprehensive. At the first stage, which is the national stage, people can nominate startups across various categories, including Best Accelerator or Incubator, Best Startup of the year, Best Social impact and Female Role model anyone is allowed to nominate a startup, keeping the process as open as possible, and allowing them to source the best startups across SAARC.

A shortlist of the best startups in each category is then curated by a set of advisors most of whom are among the top mentors, investors, and startup advisors in the country. Interestingly, the competition also allows the public to have a say, and once the shortlist is prepared, a public voting is opened. This means that the public perception of the startup and its value also gets taken into account while deciding the winners.

Using a combination of jury opinion and public votes, the winners in SAARC will be declared across the different award categories. Once the national winners are decided, they will compete against the winners from the other SAARC (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka) nations in the regional round.

Finally, the winners of the GSA SAARC awards will then compete at the Global Awards Grand Finale, where the best startups across the globe will be decided.

Over the past 7 years, the GSA has built an incredible reputation, simply because it’s one of the few awards that is so global in its outreach, is completely transparent about its process, and has no hidden agendas whatsoever.

The global network it provides access to can open up a world of opportunities for the Indian startups that win or are simply shortlisted for the competition. It will also be interesting to see how the winners from the India competition fare against both regional as well as global competition says CEO, Nelson Vasanth


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