Photo courtesy: Yogesh Agarwal

Zone Startups India launches Soft Landing program

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By Behdad Mahichi

Zone Startups India — the DMZ’s sister startup accelerator based in Mumbai — has announced plans to go global.

The incubator, located on the 18th floor of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building, announced on Friday the opening of a new program dubbed Soft Landing.

The new facility will open up on the 17th floor and will be designated for startups coming to India from abroad.

Matt Saunders, president of Ryerson Futures, an accelerator program connected to the DMZ and Zone Startups India, spoke to an audience at Friday’s expansion event and said that after being accepted into the Soft Landing program, start-ups from any country will have the opportunity to enter the Indian market.

“We’re going to be providing business development and market entry services to those companies and help them get connected and grow into the market,” he said.

Saunders said that they are already in contact with a few countries that have shown interest.

For three consecutive years, the government of Ontario along with Zone Startups India has hosted the Next BIG Idea competition, which has allowed for Indian startups to enter the Canadian market. Last November, five Indian startups were selected to be incubated at Ryerson’s DMZ for two weeks. The Soft Landing program will now be an opportunity for Canadian startups to thrive in India.

The announcement comes nearly two years since the Zone Startup’s official inauguration, which saw Canada’s Governor General David Johnston at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

This time, delegations from Ontario, Ryerson, Simon Fraser University and the BSE Institute came together for the expansion ceremony.

Since 2014, Zone Startups India has give rise to 65 companies, creating a total of 420 jobs.

Ryerson’s Interim President Mohamed Lachemi also took part in the ceremony, and said Ryerson is dedicated to furthering its presence in India through programs like the Soft Landing.

“We have made progress but we want to do more,” he said. “We are now a connector for anybody in the world who wants to do business here.”

The Soft Landing program is expected to launch in the coming months.

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