Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone to Build India-based Incubator for Startups

Posted by Joseph Czikk

Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) will be building a satellite incubator in India.

The announcement came Monday at the DMZ where Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and BSE Limited’s Ambarish Datta were on hand to sign a memorandum of understanding.

“This initiative is an important first step towards creating a new bridge between Canada and India that provides young entrepreneurs unprecedented international opportunities,” said Levy. “As Canada's university leader in entrepreneurship, we're excited to contribute to this venture that will support innovation and prosperity in both countries."

BSE Limited is a financial marketing institute based in India. Along with Ryerson University and Ryerson Futures Inc., the three institutions will create the BSEI-Ryerson Digital Media Zone, a new incubator for entrepreneurs to fast-track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. It will allow young Indian entrepreneurs to benefit from DMZ best practices while providing channels to expand into both the Indian and Canadian markets.

BSE Limited’s Datta spoke of how entrepreneurship innovation has had a positive effect on the economies of the US, Israel and Germany, among others. India meanwhile, continues to experience unattractive levels of youth unemployment and underemployment.

“Setting up of new enterprises can contribute in a major way to address this issue,” he said. “Apart from creating wealth and boosting the economy, new businesses also create significantly larger number of jobs than established ones. Hence we need to ensure that there are many new enterprises and they get the required support to succeed.”

The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) is one of Canada's largest incubators and multidisciplinary co-working spaces for young entrepreneurs. It’s a hub of digital media collaboration, innovation and commercialization and has been home to several notable startups. These include Kira Talent, Mejuri, Food Story, Thumble and Tiny Hearts, among others. Levy and the rest of the DMZ are hoping that some of the success happening at the corner of Yonge and Dundas can be transferred over-seas to India.

Matt Saunders of Ryerson Futures Inc. said the agreement will allow them to forge more angel investor networks across Canada and India. "These initiatives will help increase the odds of success for early-stage start-ups while giving them access to new markets. We are proud to share our expertise towards this partnership that will strengthen India's startup ecosystem and provide a boost for both countries' economies," he said.

Along with the announcement, BSE Limited and Ryerson also announced the “Next Big Idea” competition for India's most innovative companies. The winning team will receive all expenses paid three-week stay at the DMZ in Toronto and all the perks included with a DMZ membership. The competition opens on August 12 and will close on August 30.

Login Radius cofounder Rakesh Soni said the agreement “seems like a good initiative.” His company is a social sign-on business for websites and is active on more than 70,000 sites.

Soni came to Canada from India through the academic route, studying at the University of Alberta. He later cofounded Login Radius in Edmonton with business partner Deepak Gupta. The pair recently graduated from Montreal’s FounderFuel accelerator program.

According to Soni, another program making headlines in India is 10,000 Startups, a name sure to make Dave McClure cringe (or make Startup Canada’s 1,000 Startups look even less original, however one looks at it). Supported by the likes of Microsoft BizSpark, Google For Entrepreneurs and Amazon Web Services, 10,000 Startups seeks to support 10,000 India-based startups with $25,000 in money and services.

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Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is a freelance writer based in Montreal, where he did his graduate studies in journalism at Concordia University. His work has appeared in OpenFile Montreal, Fundica.com's blog and the Westmount Examiner. He also has a passion for radio, having hosted a music show on CFRU 93.3 FM while completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. A sports nut, Joseph often goes... more



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