David Johnston cuts the ribbon at the DMZ’s brand new Indian sister project. PHOTO COURTESY CARBE ORELLANA

DMZ touches down in India

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By Lana Hall

Canada’s Governor General David Johnston threw the coconut on the ground and — luckily for him and Ryerson University — it cracked.

An Indian tradition to mark the start of a new project, the coco-nut’s cracking is supposed to bring good luck. It was a welcome sign for Johnston and his team of government and Ryerson leaders who were in Mumbai, India last week to oversee the opening of a Digital Media Zone (DMZ) program.

The Bombay Stock ExchangeInstitute Ltd. (BIL)-Ryerson DMZIndia, modeled on Ryerson Unversity’s DMZ. It was built in col-laboration with Ryerson, RyersonFutures Inc., Simon Fraser Univer-sity and the BIL. It was officially opened on Feb. 28.

The original DMZ at Ryerson isa multi-program business incubator and workspace for entrepreneurs that was founded in 2010.The India-based version will operate similarly, with the goal of helping technology-based startups with their operations and expos-ing them to mentors, customers and investors.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy,whom also accompanied Johnston to India, said that the zone n Mumbai has huge potential for Ryerson.

“This will give our students an opportunity to spend time in India, as well as students in India to spend time in Canada,” Levy said.“I think it’s going to be a fabulous opportunity.”

Kristin Heredia, a spokesperson for the DMZ here at Ryerson,said the university plans to launch other DMZ programs abroad, but is currently focusing on India because it will have the largest population of young people worldwide by the year 2020.

As one of the youngest emerging nations, India will need to be able to employ more young people,said Ambarish Datta, the CEO of BIL-Ryerson DMZ India.

“We are confident that this incubator… will not only provide employment for our youth, but also build products and solutions that put India on the global map of in-novation,” Datta said in a news release.

“The Canada-India economic relationship is strong,” said Johnston in a government press release.“[It] holds tremendous potential for broader and expanded collaboration.”

The stop in Mumbai, where Johnston also had the opportunity to open the Bombay StockExchange, was part of a largerIndia-wide tour during which he spoke with officials in Bangalore and New Delhi regarding business and education.

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