Pilot project will promote women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in Canada and India

Bardish Chagger

THANKS to a partnership between the Government of Canada and the Government of India, up to 100 companies—50 from Canada and 50 from India—will benefit from a two-year pilot project that will promote women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in both countries.

During a visit to the Ryerson Futures facility at the Bombay Stock Exchange, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a $500,000 contribution from the Government of Canada for this two-year pilot project.

Ten women-led software start-ups from Canada and 10 from India will be selected each year to participate in the Zone Startups India program, a partnership between Ryerson Futures Inc. and the Bombay Stock Exchange. The program aims to help them overcome globalization challenges and establish relationships in the Canadian and Indian marketplaces.

In total, 20 Canadian start-ups will be selected to go to Mumbai over the course of the two-year project, while 20 Indian start-ups will be selected to come to Toronto. The women leading these start-ups will benefit from access to mentors and advisors, invitations to local start-up events and meetings with Indian and Canadian government officials to learn about the process of setting up and running a business in their host country.

Each year, Zone Startups will also offer intensive two-day seminars in both Toronto and Mumbai for 30 additional firms that are interested in collaboration between the two countries.

“Innovation is about finding solutions, and great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. 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 start-ups expand beyond Canada’s borders,” said Bains.

Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, said: “Women entrepreneurs and business owners represent a significant source of untapped talent and potential for greater economic growth and new jobs in Canada and abroad. Unlocking this potential is a priority of our government. That is why we are supporting this program and helping women start and grow businesses by improving access to financing and promoting women in international trade.”


Quick Facts

· Established in 2013, Ryerson Futures Inc. is a start-up accelerator currently operating multiple programs in Canada and India. It helps developing software companies validate their market and identify potential customers and sources of funds.

· The Government of Canada’s contribution represents half of the cost of the pilot project. The remainder will come from the Government of India.