Mumbai-based Zone Startups India, one of the largest tech accelerators in India, has announced the 7th edition of its annual Next BIG Idea contest. NBI 2019 will invite applications from tech startups across the country to be selected under the program. The Next BIG Idea is an annual feature of Zone Startups India that engages stakeholders including startups, incubators, co-working spaces, investors, industry and other enablers through roadshows in over 20 cities across India.
Zone Startups India team will be hosting roadshows across 21 cities to launch the contest pan-India throughout July 2019. The applications for the contest will be accepted online from June 28, 2019 till August 30, 2019.
NBI 2019 team will be visiting upcoming startup hubs like Hyderabad, Chennai to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Vizag, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar and Jaipur in order to invite applications for the program.
Launched in 2013, Zone Startups India has operated six editions of the program till date, that has benefited 39 Indian tech startups, through a soft-landing program across major tech hubs in Canada and the US.
The objective of the Next BIG Idea contest has been to identify and support hi-tech, hi-potential Indian startups that are seeking to expand internationally, and are actively looking at the North American market. The selected startups get access to a bespoke market access program which includes mentorship, industry connects, investor meetings and a great international exposure.
The alumni network of Next BIG Idea Contest comprises of startups that have successfully raised multiple rounds of funding, as well as, startups that have made exits through mergers and acquisitions – some of the names being, CitrusPay, Sokrati (selected in 2013 but chose not to go in the midst of their funding round), Heckyl, Vidooly, ShieldSquare, Plackal, Flip Technologies, AdSparx, Konotor (acquired by FreshDesk), Data Resolve, Uncanny Vision, Gray Routes, Sequretek, Plackal (acquired by Sheroes), etc.
In 2018, the contest came to be a part of a larger Canada-India Bilateral Entrepreneurship Initiative supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India – which allowed Zone Startups India to increase the number of benefactors to 13 entrepreneurs each year, for a period of 2 years 2018 and 2019.
Dr Anita Gupta, Director, DST India, said, “The Department of Science and Technology , Government of India supports bilateral entrepreneurial platforms which enables Indian Startups to go global . Next Big Idea scouts and connects best tech based startups with International markets like Canada. Exposure to Canadian Startup Ecosystem through a well structured program provides access to relevant stakeholders, market and networks are the key takeaways for startups.”
“If we had not gone through the NBI program, we would never have given a serious thought to looking at Canada as a potential gateway to the North American Market. It was an eye-opener in a lot of ways,” said Pankit Desai, Co-founder & CEO, Sequretek, winner of Next BIG Idea 2017. Sequretek has since raised INR 27 crore led by Unicorn India Ventures in September 2018 and set up an office in the US in December 2018.
With the fifth edition, a new addition was made to the Next BIG Idea contest, in the form of the Aditya Jha Entrepreneur India Award – for recognising social entrepreneurs who have translated their innovative and impactful ideas into technology driven businesses. The winner receives a grant of INR 5 Lakhs during Next Big Idea winner announcement.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Zone Startups on the Next Big Idea Competition for the 7th edition this year. The Next Big Idea is a great example of how Indians and Canadians can collaborate to achieve revolutionary social and business success. Canada is the best start-up partner that any of you could have. That is because, in a world where many countries are closing doors and putting up walls, Canada remains open. We are a country built on diversity that welcomes entrepreneurs from all over the world, and Indian entrepreneurs have proven to be a very good fit,” stated Annie Dubé, Consul General, Canada.
Last year, the Next BIG Idea contest roadshows were hosted in 20 startup hubs from across the country, and attracted over 1,100 applications, from which 13 startups got an opportunity to explore soft-landing in major Canadian cities.
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