The DMZ at Ryerson University is looking for startups in Kitchener-Waterloo interested in applying for the Next Big Idea Contest, which the university is organizing in partnership with Innovation Birmingham in the U.K.
The contest is open to startups in Ontario and the Greater Birmingham area. Organizers say they would like to get the word out in Kitchener-Waterloo so some of the region’s tech entrepreneurs will apply for the competition.
The winners will spend two weeks abroad in the sister incubation centre, so the Ontario winner will travel to Innovation Birmingham and the British winner to the DMZ. It will allow the companies to scale up internationally, meeting with expert advisers and scope out ways to expand their businesses on a global scale.
Interested applicants must complete this form by Dec. 18.
“We are very excited to launch this contest with Innovation Birmingham, giving young innovators an opportunity to make valuable connections world-wide and expand their businesses on a global scale,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy in a statement.
The DMZ – which stands for Digital Media Zone – is the university’s tech incubator, situated in the heart of downtown Toronto. Since April 2010, it has accelerated 219 startups, which have raised more than $120 million in funding.
The facility signed a memorandum of understanding with Innovation Birmingham earlier this year to increase the global opportunities for the clients of both groups.
Based in the former steel-making hub northwest of London, the Innovation Birmingham Campus is home to 130 companies, specializing in such areas as coding, software, digital gaming and low carbon technologies. Birmingham itself is home to 34,000 private companies, including 700 international companies, which have helped to make it the fastest-growing city in the U.K.
“When visiting Toronto’s DMZ, it was evident how similar the ethos, community and outputs were to the Innovation Birmingham Campus,” said David Hardman, the CEO of Innovation Birmingham. “The launch of this contest is the first step in what we believe will be a very productive collaboration, benefiting early stage tech businesses.”