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10 women-led startups to participate in bi-directional programme in Canada

Ten leaders of enterprises will be mentored at Carleton University in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, so they can potentially expand into the North American market. Similarly, 10 Canadian women entrepreneurs will head to India to try and reach that vast market.

world Updated: Aug 14, 2018 15:00 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Toronto, Hindustan Times
Startups,Women-led startup,bi-directional programme
The programme will run five years and during that period, 100 entrepreneurs, 50 from each country, will get the opportunity of entering a new market.

Anu Meena, a young graduate of IIT-Delhi and founder of the startup Agrowave, will be in Ottawa next month as part of the first batch of entrepreneurs participating in a bi-directional programme to promote women-led businesses.

This is the Canadian India Acceleration Programme (CIAP), aimed at female technology entrepreneurs from both countries. Ten leaders of such enterprises will be mentored at Carleton University in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, so they can potentially expand into the North American market.

Similarly, 10 Canadian women entrepreneurs will head to India to try and reach that vast market. Carleton’s Canada-India Centre for Excellence (CICE) has created CIAP in partnership with the All India Council for Technical Education, the national regulator for a network of 10,500 colleges and institutes.

The programme will run five years and during that period, 100 entrepreneurs, 50 from each country, will get the opportunity of entering a new market.

Harry Sharma, manager of CICE, said the cohort of 10 entrepreneurs will arrive in late September and they were selected from among some 700 applicants after three rounds of appraisal by AICTE. “Our experts will look at their potential and try and help get them traction in the North American market,” he said.

This will include access to the university’s Lead to Win incubator. The “key criteria”, Sharma said, is that these entrepreneurs offered a technology-oriented product. Agrowave, for instance, is working on incorporating technology to bring logistics support to the fruits and vegetables supply chain in the unorganised sector.

Interestingly, several of these startups have a rural emphasis – ranging from a desi drone for precision agriculture and smart farming to a portable cold storage system using solar energy, solar electric stoves and biotoilets. Given the demographic and challenges women face in India, one startup is working on a wearable smart belt with an automatic kidnapping or rape detection mechanism.

The women hail from every region of India - from Haryana and Punjab in the north, to West Bengal in the east, to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the south, and Maharashtra and Gujarat in the west.

Sharma said they had designed a “holistic programme” targeting startups that are “mature enough to enter the global market”. But since women entrepreneurs “have not been getting their fair share in starting their own businesses”, it gets them access to financing, training, mentoring by experts and entry into an established tech ecosystem.

The Canadian companies will head to India in the first quarter of 2019. Applications were invited in late July and by the end of this month, 10 startups will be selected.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 15:00 IST