FIRST IIT Kanpur partners with the Toronto Business Development Centre to take Indian startups global


  • FIRST, IIT Kanpur and Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) sign an MoU to provide qualifying startups incubation and a chance to relocate to Canada.

  • Both centers will launch a cross membership program for Indian startups to be mentored by Canadian mentors and vice versa.

  • The MoU will pave way for future cross-border collaboration in form of mentorship, networking events, and investors connect for startups.

Kanpur, Oct 11, 2021: Foundation for Innovation & Research in Science & Technology (FIRST), the technology business incubator at IIT Kanpur, (also known by the brand name, SIIC IIT Kanpur) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Toronto Business Development Centre, Canada. The MoU’s primary objective is to provide business advisory, investor and industry connects to startups qualifying under TBDC's programs like Startup Visa and Soft-Landing Program. The selected startups will also receive an opportunity to relocate to Canada.

The enterprises further will launch a joint cross-mentorship program as a collaborative venture for startups from both nations. It can be anticipated that this partnership will bring significant changes to the existing startup ecosystem in both the countries. In addition to this, FIRST and TBDC will also provide an opportunity for incubation to the selected startups for a period of 6 months.

“We already have a partnership with Singapore India Chamber of Commerce. I am glad that with the establishment of the partnership with TBDC, we are moving a step forward towards expanding our footprints to make a mark in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem”, said Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur. He further added that “FIRST IIT Kanpur is emerging as a pioneer in nurturing startups through their journey”.

Foundation for Innovation & Research in Science & Technology (FIRST) and Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) will launch a three-month cross mentorship program to mentor Indian startups on Go-To-Market strategy by Canadian mentors and vice-versa. In addition, a monthly Startup connect meet will be organized to learn and implement best practices and processes adopted by the start-ups from both countries.

Adding to this occasion, Nikhil Agarwal, CEO FIRST, IIT Kanpur, said, “I’m delighted on the signing of this MoU. FIRST has always worked towards serving the greater good, and this joint effort with TBDC will advance our startups by exposing them to exceptional networks through TBDC.”

Esha Chopra, Director, Strategy and Marketing, TBDC added, “The association promotes our vision for a better tomorrow. FIRST IIT Kanpur has been working towards revolutionizing the Indian startup ecosystem and we look forward to being a part of the discourse.”

TBDC will conduct screening and interviews for the selection of these startups. Post which, the startups shall have access to TBDC services like one-on-one mentor sessions, networking events, investors network, and infrastructure to conduct programs. The MoU abides by the laws of India.

About Toronto Business Development Centre(TBDC)

Toronto Business Development Centre is a business incubator based in the city of Toronto, Ontario. TBDC is one of its kind incubator in the city, offering multiple essential resources in building a successful startup. Their startup programs are vast and diverse, that accommodates various startups within their ecosystem.

About Foundation for Research & Innovation in Science & Technology (FIRST)

Established in 2000, Start-up Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC), IIT Kanpur, is one of the oldest technology business incubators with many successes under its belt. In 2018, the leadership brought the incubator's operations under Foundation for Research & Innovation in Science & Technology (FIRST), a Section-8 company promoted by IIT Kanpur. The multifaceted, vibrant incubation ecosystem nurtured over two decades continues to fill all the gaps on the road to convert an idea into a business.


Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, is one of the premier institutions set up by the Government of India. Registered in 1959, the institute was assisted by nine leading institutions of the U.S.A in the setting up of its academic programs and laboratories during the period 1962-72. With its record of path-breaking innovations and cutting-edge research, the institute is known the world over as a learning center of repute in engineering, science, and several interdisciplinary areas. In addition to formal undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the institute has been active in research and development in areas of value to both industry and government.

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