Created in partnership between the Google News Initiative (GNI), global innovation lab Echos, and DIGIPUB News India Foundation – the GNI Startups Lab India program supports high-quality reporting for local communities, single-topic audiences and/or previously underserved communities across India.
Are you an early stage online news organisation creating original digital content?
GNI, Echos and DIGIPUB have built a 16-week program specifically tailored to the needs of content startups in India. You will benefit from Echos' experience in supporting media startups through design thinking and from DIGIPUB's extensive network and active community in India: there will be workshops, coaching and high-profile networking opportunities.
Applications for the 2021 GNI Startups Lab India are now open. If you are an existing news founder or part of an early-stage digital news organisation, then we want to hear from you!
The GNI Startups Lab India aims to help journalistic startups better understand their audiences, create higher quality content (text, audio and/or video) and navigate the pitfalls of monetisation. At the end of the program, you will have improved your capabilities to sustainably provide your audience with high quality journalism.
If you want to hone the necessary skills to grow a digital news business, are committed to public-service-reporting and want to explore a major strategic opportunity in digital media, you and your team are just who we are looking for! We are especially interested in entrepreneurs who want to serve communities that don’t often see themselves or their stories reflected in their local news.
This program will bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and reporters, so that the former can appreciate the content while the latter can understand the importance of financial sustainability.
All phases will be fully remote and mostly held via live video calls with mentors and experts, giving you and your team the opportunity to boost your product and business through Design Thinking. The program will conclude with a celebratory Demo Day.
Applications close on 18 October, 2021 - 11:59PM IST.
Sep 8th - Oct 18th, 2021
The period when startups must send their application.
Nov 8th, 2021
Disclosure of selected startups for the program.
Nov 22nd, 2021
Program launch for selected participants.
Mar 25th, 2022
Present your final results and receive actionable feedback from a panel of experts.
Please note: all dates are subject to change.
All applicants are required to fill out the application form below:
The Google News Initiative will cover all program costs, meaning the Lab is completely free of charge for all participants. We do not charge a fee or take any equity. All you need to contribute is your time and energy.
The programme is for founders and teams producing journalistic digital content who want to
We are especially interested in entrepreneurs who want to serve communities that don’t often see themselves or their stories reflected in their local news.
Please consider applying if you:
The program will give 10 news startup teams from across India the opportunity to participate.
The entire program will be held remotely, using video conferencing tools like Google Meet, and collaboration tools such as Miro and Thinkific.
The programme will consist of remote group events where key themes will be shared and discussed between experts and participants. In addition, each two weeks there will be 1:1 sessions with each startup, when your specific challenges and goals can be tackled with the help of mentors.
All workshops and 1:1 coaching sessions will be held in English. That being said, we welcome applications from news startups publishing in all Indian languages.
You or your team should be able to commit at least 8 to 16 hours per week for the duration of the 16-week programme to meet with coaches and trainers, complete remote-live and asynchronous coursework and drive your project.
All applicants are required to fill out our application form, answer all questions and upload a pitch deck in English, if they want. You can find the application form here. 10 applicants will be selected to be part of the program.
No, it doesn’t. You should apply to whatever opportunities are best suited for you at this moment –– applying to multiple ones will not help or hurt your chances of being selected. We do, however, ask you to disclose existing sources of funding during the application process.
We can’t guarantee that yet, since this is a pilot. Each of the partners organising GNI Startups Lab India are experienced players in the support of startups, and each is committed to offering more iterations of the GNI Startups Lab or similar programs, should the opportunity arise.
You will be able to edit your submission until the end of the application period.
The Google News Initiative is Google’s effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Our efforts focus on three pillars: working with the news industry to evolve their business models and drive sustainable growth, elevating quality journalism and empowering news organizations with new technology.
Echos is a global innovation lab driven by design. Our mission is to elevate the potential of design: shaping the next generation of innovators; designing futures; transforming realities.
Since 2011 Echos has been developing learning experiences and consulting projects for people and organizations, accelerating the construction of what is technically challenging, financially scalable and, above all, desirable for people.
The DIGIPUB News India Foundation has been formed by digital media organisations with the intent to help ensure the creation of a healthy and robust news ecosystem for the digital age. The aim is to build a platform that represents digital news media organisations, with its membership open to digital-only ventures, as well as media commentators and independent journalists active in the digital news space. Learn more about becoming a member.
Thank you for your interest in the program, but the application period is closed. We had 68 entries, and now we're looking forward to sharing the participating startups. Stay tuned!