Islamabad, June 22, 2023: The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, in partnership with National University of Science and Technology (NUST) as hosts, organized the grand finale event for “Rising Stars of Pakistan,” a startup competition for women and minority entrepreneurs.
In his opening remarks at the event, Deputy Chief of Mission Andrew Schofer said, “The U.S. Mission to Pakistan is proud to be part of cultivating a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Pakistan and empowering young people to dream big, take risks, and become the job creators and change-makers that Pakistan needs.” Since 2012, the U.S. Embassy has funded over 181 entrepreneurship-related projects valued at $14.7 million dollars. Schofer was joined by Pro-Rector NUST, Dr. Rizwan Riaz who acknowledged the efforts of the U.S. government in supporting entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan.
Dr. Riaz, expressed appreciation for the ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and NUST to foster diversity and inclusion, and to increase the presence of diverse leaders in the entrepreneurial sector in Pakistan that contribute to Pakistan’s long-term economic growth.
More than 800 emerging startups competed throughout the various stages of the competition, resulting in an opportunity for the top-26 emerging entrepreneurs to travel to Islamabad to present their ideas at the grand finale event. The finalists include 23 women, two men, and one transgender person. The finalists represented a range of religious and ethnic backgrounds, highlighting the competition’s commitment to promoting inclusion and fostering a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem. The top three business ideas were awarded seed financing in the amounts of PKR 1 million, PKR 700,000, and PKR 500,000, respectively.
Sponsored by U.S. Embassy Islamabad, the “Rising Stars of Pakistan” has been a collaboration between NUST and California-based Draper University, and included Pakistani American experts based in Silicon Valley as mentors for the emerging Pakistani founders.