ISLAMABAD – U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson underscored the U.S. government’s commitment to increase opportunities for entrepreneurs in Pakistan at the 2013 Pakistan StartUp Cup awards ceremony which took place at the Islamabad Marriott Hotel today.
The StartUp Cup, jointly organized by the U.S. Embassy and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Islamabad Chapter, is a business model competition that took place over 19 weeks, with more than 400 Pakistani start-up businesses participating.
Prize money of PKR 1,000,000 for the winner and 750,000 and 500,000 for the runners up was awarded to the top three businesses. The winner of the Pakistan StartUp Cup will compete in the First Annual World StartUp Cup in Yerevan, Armenia, in January 2014.
In his key-note address, Ambassador Olson said, “We believe Pakistan’s future prosperity will be determined by the success of innovative and fast-growing companies. When entrepreneurs here in Pakistan succeed, they create economic opportunity not only for Pakistanis, but for people all over the world, including the United States.”
Ambassador Olson also stated that the U.S. Embassy through its Khushali ka Safar (“Journey to Prosperity”) program is providing financial support to encourage innovative, dynamic young Pakistani entrepreneurs who are ready to take on challenges and surmount obstacles in converting their ideas into reality.
“The StartUp Cup is one of many initiatives the U.S. supports to strengthen entrepreneurship education in Pakistan. We are talking to Pakistani-American diaspora investors who are interested in Pakistan’s tremendous potential and how they can support Pakistan’s next generation of entrepreneurs. We are also sponsoring, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative. This is an investment fund which will soon be an avenue for small and medium-sized Pakistani companies to access the equity capital they need to expand and prosper,” said Ambassador Olson.
Sarah Hashwani, President of TiE Islamabad, said that 96 percent of the Pakistan StartUp Cup participants were able to create a viable business model as a result of the competition.