Following partnership announcement that set the foundation for joint initiatives between the DMZ and Innovation Birmingham, the two incubators are launching the Next Big Idea Contest, an innovation competition for startups based in Ontario and Great Birmingham.
Applicants from Ontario and the Greater Birmingham will be assessed on innovative use of technology, market validation, and potential for rapid growth and international expansion. The winning entrepreneurs will then spend 14 nights abroad in the sister incubation centre meeting with expert advisers and finding ways to scale globally.
“The DMZ offers startups tools and an environment for success, including an unparalleled network to grow both in Canada and abroad,” said Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University. “We are very excited to launch this contest with Innovation Birmingham, giving young innovators an opportunity to make valuable connections worldwide and to expand their business on a global scale.”
As Greater Birmingham currently holds the title of having the highest economic output in the UK, and Ontario has the second largest IT industry in North America, the contest allows entrepreneurs can take advantage of scaling in startup-friendly ecosystems.
“When visiting Toronto’s DMZ, it was evident just how similar the ethos, community, and outputs were to the Innovation Birmingham campus. The Next Big Idea Contest will present invaluable opportunities for early stage tech businesses with high growth potential,” said Dr. David Hardman, CEO of Innovation Birmingham. “With the help and guidance of the teams of advisers and the peer networks in Toronto and Birmingham, the winning entrepreneurs will be able to expand on a global scale. The launch of this Contest is the first step in what we believe will be a very productive collaboration, benefitting early stage tech businesses.”