As India is fighting the biggest enemy the world has seen so far, the global community is doing its part vehemently. The Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) supported India’s fight with the Covid-19 by providing 5000 ventilators and other medical supplies. In an exclusive conversation with NewsX for its special series NewsX India A-List, Vikram Khurana, Chairman of the Toronto Business Development Centre talked about their beneficial initiative and shared his insights with us.
Talking about the initiative, Khurana said, “These ventilators have been donated kindly by the province of Ontario and the province of Saskatchewan. The ventilators are made to survive on their own. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of global relations among the nations. The virus doesn’t recognize any borders; it is evident that it moves freely, in the air. We cannot build any borders around this pandemic unless we’re able to build walls in the air,” said Vikram Khurana on the importance of co-relation between the nations.
Vikram explained about the organization that facilitated the supply of ventilators in collaboration with Air Canada. TBDC is the oldest business incubator in Canada that support entrepreneurs with all their needs. While talking about giving rise to 9 Unicorns, Vikram said, “Our current focus is on India. We think that there is a great amount of innovation and start-ups coming from India.”
Vikram Khurana also threw light on their Start-up Visa Program, which is extremely helpful for young and new entrepreneurs. He continued, “While there is a great discussion on brain drain, there is not as much discussion on business expansion. Start-ups that grow internationally become multi-national. To facilitate this, Canada started the Start-up Visa in 2013. It essentially allows entrepreneurs to move with their families, be closer to their markets, and access technology and sources easily. Currently, about 2500 entrepreneurs from all over the world migrate to Canada under this program.”
“Innovation does not go to sleep, and innovation is spurred when there is a challenge,” said Khurana when asked about some innovations he saw during the pandemic by Indians. Khurana pointed out that one of the most considerable collateral damage of Covid-19 has been seniors citizens. He applauded several start-ups helping to solve the problem faced by senior citizens and start-ups to find vaccine sites by diverting and balancing traffic among those vaccine sites. He mentions the fact that most of the time, entrepreneurs executed these initiatives without concern of making money which is a very noble way of entrepreneurs giving back to society.
He talks about the collaboration with Air Canada, which made this initiative a success. “Many people of the crew were Indians living in Canada for a while and have roots in India like Captain Rash Pal who piloted the aircraft that carried those ventilators along with many other supplies with great pride. Every member of the team took great pride and went above and beyond to make this happen,” he said.
Talking about the world being caught flat-footed by the virus, Vikram said, “There are a lot of lessons learned on the fly”. He concluded the conversation by talking about having a front window view of great ideas coming from all around and the dominance of AI, Data Modelling, and Machine Learning in the area of innovation.