The scheme, named Canada-India Acceleration Program, was announced by Canadian minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains during the Canadian government’s recent visit to India.
“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,” said Bains.
“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.”
“Canada and India have identified women entrepreneurship as a key enabler of economic and social empowerment”
The Ottawa-based university and AICTE, India’s national regulator for colleges and institutes, will help 50 women-led technology start-ups from each country through exchange programs, mentorships, potential seed funding and internship opportunities.
Both stakeholders have mobilised funding and support.
Carleton is contributing funds to the initiative and has been raising funds outside the university, including from NRI Startup India who will be contributing $1 million, while AICTE has called on national agencies and start-up incubators to support the initiative.
“India is developing into one of the largest startup systems in the world. Our emphasis has been on supporting women entrepreneurs and startups,” said AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe.
“We are confident that this engagement will go a long way in creating new avenues of growth, better collaboration, creating jobs for youth and developing a strong entrepreneurial culture in India.”
A first cohort of ten participants will be visiting Carleton University in August 2018, according to AICTE, while a group of ten start-ups from Canada is expected to visit India towards the end of the year.
The program’s priorities will be not only to support women entrepreneurship but also to foster trade collaboration between the two countries.
“Canada and India have identified women entrepreneurship as a key enabler of economic and social empowerment,” reads a statement by Carleton University.
“Canada is also encouraging businesses to diversify export markets and has identified India as a priority market.”
Carleton University is planning to replicate the model with international partners in Brazil and Africa, while AICTE has been running a similar type of exchange program with South Korea.