Visiting entrepreneurs from India learn, connect and grow their digital businesses alongside Canadian entrepreneurs
July 13, 2012
This summer, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) welcomes its first international fellows into its downtown Toronto hub. The Indian fellows, nine individual entrepreneurs in seven teams, have been selected for four-month terms in Toronto. They join the DMZ from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) and the Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad).
During their tenure at the DMZ, the entrepreneurs will focus on developing forward-thinking and innovative digital products and services for launch in India while learning with and alongside the DMZ’s other 39 teams. Although this is a first for the DMZ, Ryerson has an extensive history of international collaboration with more than 100 partner institutions in more than 30 countries.
Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy announced the fellowship program with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry during a speech at the IIT Delhi in August 2011. “I have always believed that great things come from innovation and the sharing of ideas. These fellowships are a wonderful opportunity to bring some of the best, brightest and most entrepreneurial students from India together with Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to learn, to innovate and to explore new digital business opportunities together.”
Wendy Cukier, vice-president, research and innovation at Ryerson, agrees: “Ryerson is attracting some of the world’s leading international academic partners, in part, because of our growing reputation in experiential learning, innovation and entrepreneurship. Our international collaborations are mutually beneficial and provide learning opportunities for faculty and students in advancing research which has real impact.”
The Indian fellows include:
- Sharanya Haridas, founder of That’s so Gloss, India’s first webzine and community exclusively for and by young women aged 13 to 25
- Celestine Preetham, founder of TravelNet, a mobile app and Internet-based service that aims to reduce traffic congestion and increase the use of public transport and ridesharing in India
- Siddharth Kumar Thakur, founder of ScanBox, an online study tool helping students to electronically convert their paper-based notes and assignments
- Visweswaran Gowrisankaran, co-founder of My IndiEye, a mobile GPS video tour company that helps tourists get the most out of their travel experiences in India
- Abhishek Gupta and Saurabh Kumar, co-founders of Zumbl, a chat-based portal enabling strangers to interact, engage and converse with one another without revealing their identities
- Alok Nikhil Jha and Ankur Khera, co-founders of Ticket Zone, an online ticketing portal where users can buy, sell and gift tickets and passes for movies and public events in India
- Avnish Gaur, co-founder of AskMePrice, an online price search engine that allows consumers to compare prices instantly for a variety of everyday products for sale in India
Sharanya Haridas, DMZ fellow and founder of That’s so Gloss, says, “It can be daunting to create an online voice for young women in India, especially because this sort of thing has never been attempted before. The culture of the Digital Media Zone has been wonderful. I’ve received so much assistance and support not only from my new mentors, but also from the other teams of Ryerson entrepreneurs. I feel as if the sky’s the limit for me and my company!”
“Technological innovation knows no borders,” says Valerie Fox, executive director of the Digital Media Zone. “IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, ISB Hyderabad and the Digital Media Zone have much in common: exceptional ideas and driven entrepreneurs. We’re pleased to host our first international fellows, expanding the DMZ’s scope and reach while learning from one another.”
Ryerson’s strategic international partnerships continue to develop along with Ryerson’s reputation. In the coming months, additional visiting international entrepreneurs from China and Israel will join the DMZ. Increasingly, Ryerson faculty members and students are engaged in a broad range of activities in all corners of the world.