• Contest Timelines

    Applications : Applications can be only made through online portal
    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
    Last date for application: Please refer homepage for deadline for application. Any change in deadline will be reflected on website.

  • Eligibility Requirements

    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 stakeholders.
    • Be willing to communicate their experience and stay in touch with the DMZ when they return home.
  • You are not eligible to enter the Next Big Idea contest if you are

    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.

  • Evaluating Criteria

    Below are the few factors considered for evaluating applications:

    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

  • Prize

    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.

  • Notification

    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 in the month of October 2018. 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.

  • Limitations and Liability of Release

    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.

  • Privacy and Publicity of Release

    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.

The Aditya Jha Entrepreneur India Award 2018

As an extension to Next BIG Idea contest, The Aditya Jha Entrepreneurship India Award was introduced in 2017 to recognize social entrepreneurs who have translated their innovative & impactful ideas into technology driven businesses. The award is presented by Mr. Aditya Jha himself, a philanthropist & serial entrepreneur & winner receives a Grant of INR Rs. 5 Lakhs during Next Big Idea Winner announcement event amidst a gathering of India’s leading entrepreneurs, industry and media.

  • Criteria and selection process

    • A business owner / founder, who has developed a unique business model and has made remarkable progress in the initial period of starting the business. (Organisation should be between 1 year old and less than 5 years)
    • The business started in India with vision to solve local problems using emerging technologies
    • The judging criteria includes growth of business since inception, employment generated, ability to add wealth in economy, together with such factors as leadership, degree of innovation, development of creative and ingenious production, and extent of expansion into national and international markets.
    • To be eligible to receive an award, the nominee must be an founder primarily responsible for the recent performance of a company that is at least one years old. Founders of acquired/public companies are eligible, provided the founder is still active in the top management.
    • Nominations can be submitted by anyone who is associated with nominated entrepreneur – Family member, employees, bankers, attorneys, public relations managers, or entrepreneurs themselves.
    • To qualify as nominated entrepreneur, applicant need to fill & submit Next Big Idea Contest online form available on
    • The winner will be selected from all eligible nominations by a distinguished panel of independent judges following an independent process of nomination and selection.
    • Though the applications will be accepted throughout the year, the applications made after the deadline of current year timeline, shall be considered for next year evaluations.
  • Program Calendar

    • The applications will be accepted throughout the year.
    • Selection process shall start in the month of October each year, applications made during selection period (October & November month) shall be considered for next year awards.
    • The Aditya Jha Entrepreneur India Award will honor entrepreneur at an awards gala to be hosted in month of October/November.
    • The gala is the culminating event of the Zone Startup India’s Next Big Idea Contest.
  • Process

    • All nominations for the Aditya Jha Entrepreneur India Award will undergo a selection process, which includes meeting a criteria outlined by Zone Startups India (Decided in consultation with Ryerson Futures Inc.).
    • First Interview: Prospective candidates will be contacted for preliminary review & more information on achievements.
    • Final Review: Top 5 shortlisted participants will be interviewed by Distinguished Panelists.
    • Winner announcement: After verifying submitted information, final winner will be declared
  • About Mr. Aditya Jha

    Aditya Jha is a philanthropist & social activist at heart and also a passionate serial entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial pursuits include start-up technology ventures (software product development and IT services) as well as brick and mortar turn-around businesses (Chocolate manufacturing, Real Estate and Fine dining/Fast food restaurants) in Canada, Thailand, and India. He co-founded a software company, Isopia Inc., after having a successful career at Bell Canada as General Manager, eBusiness & Product Marketing. In July 2001, despite the downturn in the technology industry, Isopia was a major acquisition by Sun Microsystems Inc., USA. His current entrepreneurial engagement as CEO (International Operations) is to spearhead a niche Indian IT services company, Euclid Infotech Pvt. Ltd., which has customer base in over 100 countries. He is also the President & CEO of TransCard Capital Inc., that provides financial services to tourism industry & Real Estate investment for Latin America and especially for Cuba.
    Aditya is Member of the Order of Canada (Canada’s highest civilian honours- recognizes lifetime outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation) and is recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He was conferred Honorary Doctorate (2009) by Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Business Management. He is honoured into Champions of Public Education in Canada Hall of Fame (2013) by The Learning Partnership. He is the Canadian Immigrant magazine’s (Toronto Star) Top 25 Canadian Immigrants 2010, South Asian Philanthropist 2010 (Mid-week news magazine), and Top 30 Most Influential Indo Canadians (India Abroad magazine- Power List 2009). The Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) awarded its 2004 Technology Achievement Award for his achievements in the field of Technology. He received CEO award, President’s Award and was also selected as President’s Club member for his professional excellence at Bell Canada. He is recipient of community service awards and recognitions from various national organizations.
    Aditya is the appointee of the Government of Canada to the Board of First Nations Financial Management Board. His academic appointments includes: “Member of the Board of Governors” of Sheridan College of Technology & Advanced Learning, “Entrepreneur in Residence” role at the School of Business, Centennial College and “Advisory Council Member” of Dean, School of Social Services, Ryerson University. He served as board member of two TSX listed public companies and on Government of Ontario’s Ontario Investment & Trade Advisory Council. He was the National Convenor of Canada India Foundation (2009-11) and has also served on the Board of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and as International Coordination Committee Member of Non Resident Nepalese Association.

  • Nurturing entrepreneurs, supporting higher education through private foundation

    Aditya sponsored (five years) a unique initiative working with the office of the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation to nurture entrepreneurship within the aboriginal communities of Canada. His charitable foundation ( created endowments at four institutions (Ryerson University, Trent University, York University, and George Brown College), which grants total of thirteen bursary awards ($42,000 annually) in perpetuity to students. He Chaired UNICEF Canada India HIV/AIDS campaign and was one of the Cabinet Members for Ryerson University Business School’s capital campaign ($72 million).
    Aditya’s foundation ( has also supported other projects: with Ryerson University a research project on Economic Value of Indo-Canadians; Pathways Education Program for the inner-city kids of Regent Park, Toronto; Share the Music endowment at Roy Thomson Hall to give Canadian aboriginals access to best musical performances; Infrastructure grant (for ballet school in Havana and Trillium Hospital, Mississauga); Toronto International Film Festival as Gold Patron; Canadian Museum of Human Rights; A student residence for kids from landless families in India through AIM for SEVA; and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and several other charitable projects. He has funded digital literacy project donating laptop and desktops to 11 schools in Nepal and to the Islamic Institute of Toronto as well has supported Nepal Library Foundation for setting up libraries in the remote villages of Nepal.

  • Professional achievements: the intellectual capital

    Aditya was an Adjunct Faculty (National University of Singapore, 1989-94) and also been invited speaker at the Ted Rogers Business School, Schulich Business School, Rotman Business School and University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and other prestigious institutions in Canada and abroad. His approach to philanthropy is featured in the Economist Intelligence Unit (Economist magazine, UK) report entitled “The New World of Wealth-Seven key trends for investing, giving & spending among the very rich” and he also presented before the Standing Senate Committee (Senate of Canada) on Foreign Affairs & International Trade on Rise of China, India and Russia and its implication on Canadian policy. He was one of the seven Canadians who accompanied Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his State visit to India in 2009 & also subsequently in 2012. He has been featured as “New Radical Pioneers” in Julia Moulden’s book “We Are the New Radicals”, McGraw Hill. Aditya was the Keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Nishnawbe Aski Nation Business Awards, South Asian Heritage Gala, Power Breakfast Series speaker at Mississauga Board of Trade and Chair/ Keynote speaker of the South Asian Philanthropy Conference. He has published/presented papers in several international journals/ conferences and has served as Editorial Review Board member of two prestigious journals as well as has moderated three business roundtables for increased trade linkages between India and Canada including at PBD2011 event in Toronto as well as speaker at “Vibrant Gujarat 2013”. He was one of the bloggers “My City Your City” for Toronto Star and blogs in Huffington Post and has written editorial article in National Post, The Globe & Mail daily and has been featured in major National and international dailies and magazines. Aditya started his professional career after investing 4½ years as Research Scholar at School of Computer & Systems Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and has obtained M.Sc. in Mathematical Statistics & Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science.


  • Who are the applicants?

    NBI sees over 800 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.

  • I am working on highly innovative product, what happened to information that I submit?

    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.

  • How many people get opportunity to travel to Canada if we win?

    Only founding team members or a senior representative.

  • How will I know if my application is successful?

    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.

  • How will I know if I am selected for the program & how long should I wait to receive confirmation or rejection email?

    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.

  • What is the program schedule?

    The winners travel to Canada in the month of November for 2 weeks. The 2018 program is expected to start from 17th November 2018.

  • What happens for 2 weeks in Canada?

    Winners travel to 3 cities in Canada:

    • Toronto
    • Calgary
    • Vancouver

    NBI facilitates stakeholders interactions at various stages & in different formats.

    • Mentorship & Business Development Counseling: The hosts in each of these cities give you access to our rich network of advisers and mentors. Most of the times you will be meeting or showcasing your startups to leading corporates.
    • Networking Opportunities: Startups meet Government, University, Industry & Other Startup Community representatives to explore synergies.
    • Workspace: Companies receive workspace in a communal setting, meeting rooms, and WI-FI service. Startups can set-up their meetings & work from the Host office spaces.
    • Investor meetings: Companies in the program will be assisted in identifying variety of funding options. Companies will also be advised on preparation for investor pitches.
    • Peer to Peer Meeting Sessions: The Peer meetings & experience sharing sessions allow us to better assist you to plan your journey in Canada.
    • Setting-Up Assistance: Startups meet experts to understand prerequisite to setup business in Canada, includes - Visa process, Immigration, Taxation, Laws & Regulations, Fundraising, Incentives etc.
  • Will all the team members be travelling (or the Team leader)?

    One representative from each of the three winning start-ups will be travelling to Toronto

  • I am currently studying in University and shall be available to travel during the time period mentioned, can i still apply?


  • I am a one man team, am I eligible to apply?


  • I want to keep my business a secret before the launch, can i get into a NDA while sending my application?

    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.