Helping women entrepreneurial leaders establish a business presence in India

News Release

February 20, 2018 – Mumbai, India

It can be challenging for start-up companies to establish contacts in new markets and understand how best to operate in other countries. That’s why we are committed to creating opportunities to help start-up companies expand beyond Canada’s borders.

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, the Honourable 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. This will benefit an additional 60 firms in both countries over two years.


“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.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“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.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

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.


Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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