Do you want success in North America? Are you India's most innovative tech startup with global capabilities?
Apply now to enter The Next Big Idea Contest for a chance to win a rocket-powered launch in Toronto, Canada.
  • Extensive media profile in India and Canada
  • On-going market access and business development support for 12 months
  • An all-expenses paid 3-week trip to Toronto and other major Canadian Cities
  • Special recognition at the leading industry events and other startup forums in Toronto and other major Canadian Cities
  • Access to use DMZ as an office space for upto 12 months as an office address in Canada, with a rent-free access for 2 desks
  • Opportunity to explore and discover Toronto’s Discovery District – a hotbed of innovation responsible for more than $1 billion of R&D annually.
  • Professional support for incorporating operations in Canada, and helping liaise with Provincial/ Federal Government for ongoing support if required
  • A 3-week bespoke program in Toronto (soft-landing, meeting with sector experts, mentoring, investors, innovation ecosystem, business development opportunities, networking)
  • Access to The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, #1 Technology Business Incubator in North America, and #3 top University Business Incubator in the World

The Next BIG Idea Contest is a Gateway for Indian Startups to North America.
The Next BIG Idea Contest seeks to discover India's 5 most innovative technology companies who are looking to leverage a soft-landing opportunity to expand to North America. The contest is a “Market Access Program”, whereby the winners get to incubate their company for a two weeks, all expenses paid, at DMZ, Toronto – North America’s #1 Technology Business Incubator and the Global #3 University Business Incubator, ranked by UBI. Using the DMZ as a landing pad, the entrepreneurs receive mentorship, business development advice, customer connects, investors access and valuable international experience.
Most of the tech businesses today, look at a global reach and expansion. However, it is difficult to achieve this without a strong network, and finances. Also, it does not help if you are an early stage technology startup from India, with a limited customer base – no matter however great the product is. The Next BIG Idea Contest provides an opportunity to tech startups from India, to tap into the most tech-savvy economy i.e, North America. While the US is always the big dream of several entrepreneurs, it is difficult to get there. At the same time, Toronto, Ontario, Canada presents an easier gateway to the larger North American market – being at the heart of the 300 Million strong Mid-West region. Being multi-cultural at heart, Ontario, Canada is open to businesses and entrepreneurs. Also, the cost of doing business is much lower. Abundant with talent, and having a strong pool of tech companies and startup incubators in the Greater Toronto Area, the region provides a great support ecosystem for tech startups to scale.
The Next BIG Idea Contest is a joint initiative of the Government of Ontario, Canada and Ryerson University, Toronto. The contest was conceptualized in 2013, with the objective of identifying promising tech startups from India, and showcasing them in Toronto; largely to provide a platform in North America for these startups, as well as to change the perception that India produces only IT services companies.
The contest is an application based process, where entries are evaluated on the basis of clarity of concept, innovativeness of the idea, development feasibility and the marketability of the product. The winners get selected based on 2 rounds of screening, further to which they are provided a soft-landing in North America, by spending 2 weeks at the DMZ, North America’s No.1 startup incubator. The winners get exposed to Toronto’s startup ecosystem, get to meet potential partners, do corporate visits, interact with the investor community, business development support, and of-course a lot of startup meets.
Canada as your gateway to North America's massive consumer markets.
Canada is a world leader in science, technology and innovation, and is recognized as one of the most innovative and competitive economies in the world.

  • Canada generates over 4% of global knowledge, despite accounting for just .5% of the world’s population.
  • Canada’s performance is consistently strong in measures related to the quality of education, market regulation, and social factors.
  • Since 2006, over $9 billion in support of science, technology, and the growth of innovative firms—fostering a world-class research and innovation system that supports Canadian businesses and economic growth.
Know more about Canadian Innovation Ecosystem Here

The DMZ is based at Ryerson but it’s not just for students, this unique community is home to entrepreneurs & innovators of all ages from across Toronto, Canada and the world. Overlooking the heart of downtown Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square, the DMZ is a hub of innovation, collaboration and experiential learning.


  • Applications : Applications can be only made through online portal throughout the year
  • Selection : The selection process begins in the month of August and ends in the month of September
  • Trip to Canada : Selected participants travel Canada for market exposure program in the month of November
The Contest is open only to legal residents of India who have reached the age of majority at the time of entry and who meet the following conditions:
Represent an Indian business involved in:

  • Any Technology Innovation
  • Have a unique, innovative, digitally-based business idea that brings social and/or commercial value.
  • Have a business plan and prototype for their company's idea.
  • Have an idea and a working style that fits into the collaborative nature of the DMZ (brings and receives value).
  • Be willing to communicate their accomplishments and experience to others such as media and stake-holders.
  • Be willing to communicate their experience and stay in touch with the DMZ when they return home.
An employee, officer, director, representative or agent of either Ryerson University, the BSE Institute Limited or the Government of Ontario (the “Contest Sponsors”), its parent, subsidiary or related companies or, if applicable, any of their respective advertising or promotion agencies, or any other company or individual engaged in the provision of goods or services related to this Contest (collectively, the “Contest Parties”), or
A member of the immediate family (parent, child, sibling, or spouse) or household (whether related or not), of any of the above individuals.
Below are the few factors considered for evaluating applications:
  • TEAM STRENGTH : Ability and experience of the founding team to build product/services & market it
  • MARKET ATTRACTIVENESS : Market Readiness & Timing, Demand for product/services in Indian & International Markets
  • DIFFERENTIATOR : Competitive landscape, Innovation & IP hold by company
  • COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF THE COMPANY : The NBI attracts energetic entrepreneurs who are open for exchanging knowledge & building upon their ideas. The winners of past NBI contests have made significant contributions towards NBI ecosystem.
  • Odds of winning depend upon the skill of the entrants at meeting the judging criteria outlined in the rules. Please note that the screening committee reserves all rights to modify criteria if required
Five (5) prizes available to be awarded. Each prize includes return economy air transportation from the major airport closest to the winner’s place of residence in India to Toronto, transportation to and from the airport in Toronto, two (2) weeks double occupancy hotel accommodation in Toronto (selection of airline carrier, seat and class, and hotel accommodations to be made at the Contest Sponsors’ sole discretion), travel medical insurance, Canadian Innovation Exchange registration fee, and participation in the program.
Any and all meals and expenses not expressly included, including expenses such as telephone calls, in-room movies, mini-bar expenses, room service, gratuities, excess baggage costs, optional tours, airport departure taxes, duties and all personal expenses are the sole responsibility of the winner.
Total Prize Value: approximately $8,780 CAD. The actual value of the prize may vary depending on point of departure and time of booking. The winner is not entitled to the difference, if any, between the actual and stated value of the prize. The winners must be available to travel to Toronto and participate in the program between September to December. The winners must have valid passports and other documentation required to travel, including applicable visas or travel permissions (costs to be borne by participants), and must have no restrictions on their ability to travel to Toronto for the dates specified above. Should a winner be unable to attend and participate in the program between those dates, he or she may, at the Contest Sponsors’ sole and absolute discretion, be disqualified and forfeit the prize.
Shortlisted candidates will be notified for subsequent screening rounds. Applicants will be disqualified from NBI process if they fail to present/attend screening rounds and unable to furnish required documents.
Results of the Contest will be officially announced on October 17. Selected entrants will be notified by telephone and/or email at the telephone number and/or email provided at the time of application and winners must respond within two (2) business days of notification.
Please note that NBI Team do not share any information provided by applicants to anyone without prior consent of the applicant. NBI do not signs any confidentiality agreements or NDA with applicants.
No liability or responsibility is assumed by the Contest Sponsor or the Contest Parties resulting from entrant's participation in or attempt to participate in the Contest or ability or inability to upload or download any information in connection with the Contest. No responsibility or liability is assumed by the Contest Sponsor or the Contest Parties for technical problems or technical malfunction arising in connection with any of the following occurrences which may affect the operation of the Contest: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, cable, satellite, network, Electronic, Internet connectivity or other online or network communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or other providers; garbled, jumbled or faulty data transmissions; failure of any online transmissions to be sent or received; lost, late, delayed or intercepted transmissions; inaccessibility of the Contest Website or Sponsor Website in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestion on the Internet or the Contest Website or Sponsor Website; unauthorized human or non-human intervention of the operation of the Contest, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, or worms; or destruction of any aspect of the Contest, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility or unavailability of an email account used in connection with the Contest. The Contest Sponsor and the Contest Parties are not responsible for any printing, typographical, technical, computer, network or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest, the uploading, The processing of votes or Entries, the judging of Entries, the announcement of the prizes or in any Contest-related materials. Use of the Contest Website and Sponsor Website is at user’s own risk. The Contest Sponsor and the Contest Parties are not responsible for any personal injury or property damage or losses of any kind which may be sustained to user's or any other person's computer or video equipment resulting from participation in the Contest.
The Contest Sponsor and its authorized agents will collect, use, and disclose the personal information provided upon registration and entry into the Contest for the purposes of administering the Contest and Prize fulfillment, in accordance with the Contest Sponsor’s privacy policy, available at

By Accepting A Prize, Winners Consent To The Publication And Use Of Their Name, Address (City, Province), Voice, Statements, Photographs, Image And/Or Likeness In Any Form, Manner Or Media Whether Now Known Or Hereafter Devised, Including, Without Limitation, In Print, Radio, Television And On The Internet For Any Purpose In Connection With The Contest Including, Without Limitation, For The Purposes Of Advertising And Trade, And Promoting The Contest Sponsor And /Or Contest, Without Further Notice Or Compensation.


NBI sees over 400 applications every year. Usually startups ready with product/services apply for the program. We do accept applications at concept/MVP stage and encourage student entrepreneurs to apply for the competition.
The information submitted by applicants is only accessible to selection/screening team. We do not disclose any information provided by applicants to anyone before taking prior consent from applicant. We do not ask for product blueprints or any information which should not be available for general public according to Companies act 2013.
Only founding team members or a senior representative.
You will receive an automated email notification. Wrong contact information, incomplete forms or browser errors are the few reasons for not receiving confirmation emails. We do not solicitate queries regarding applications made.
You will receive an email notification and/or a phone call from NBI Team for subsequent screening rounds. Due to high volume of the applications and tight deadlines we may not be able to send you any feedback or rejection emails.
The DMZ is located in the heart of Toronoto at Dundas Street East on the 6th floor.
Onboarding Orientation with includes :
  • A personalized tour by our tour Coordinator of all our 5 Floors
  • DMZ culture talk by our Executive Director, Valerie Fox
  • 101 Operation intro to all our resources, house- keeping, zone etiquette
  • Intro to our Marketing Team and what they can do for you
  • Intro to the DMZ Research with Research & Innovation Director, Hossein rahnama
  • Meet our Business Development team who will help you reach your milestones
  • Learn about funding opportunities from knowledgeable staff
  • Office desk, chair, free wifi
  • 24/7 secure access to 5 floor of office space
  • Business Hours Mon-Fri 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Business Centre on all floors with copier,printer, fax, shredder
  • Kitchenette: communal fridges, microwave, toaster-over, coffee makers, kettle
  • Meeting Spaces: 10 boardrooms, 5 phone booths, hot desk with a view
  • Access to internal DMZ Portal which host tools, resources, information and online resource scheduler, room bookings, equipement sign-out such as projectors, ipads,webcams, jumbo monitors & meetings with Advisors
  • Weekly newsletter highlighting, upcoming Tours, Events
  • DMZ insiders private Facebook group
  • Marketing promotion on our DMZ website and marketing material
  • Opportunity to meet C-level industry visitor
  • Networking and educational events: DMZ Lunch, Master Class, Expert Exchange & more
  • Business Development Peer-to-peer check-ins
  • Access to Business Advisors & Mentors
  • Alumni status
One representative from each of the three winning start-ups will be travelling to Toronto
We are not in a position to sign NDA’s with any teams applying to the competition. If you wish to apply, share what you are comfortable sharing within the application.

CONTACT US |  +91 22 22722595

Zone Startups India 18th Floor, BSE Building P.J.Towers,
Dalal Street Mumbai : 400 001