ISLAMABAD – The United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Richard Hoagland, Saturday reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting individual entrepreneurs throughout Pakistan.

“Entrepreneurship is vital to Pakistan’s future, and we are here to support you,” said Ambassador Hoagland while delivering the keynote address at the International Business Plan Competition finals organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) here on Saturday.

During his address, Ambassador Hoagland highlighted a series of initiatives promoted by the US government to promote entrepreneurship and generate economic growth in Pakistan. For example, the Embassy recently unveiled an entrepreneurship program called Khushhali Ka Safar (A Journey to Prosperity) which provides support to innovative Pakistani entrepreneurs by connecting them with American investors, particularly from the Pakistani Diaspora in the United States.

“Although the promotion of entrepreneurship is not traditional diplomacy, it is an increasingly important plank of U.S. foreign policy across the world, and we strongly believe that it can make a difference in people’s lives,” said Ambassador Hoagland.  The Ambassador went on to describe other U.S. government programs that support entrepreneurs, including efforts to form partnerships among American and Pakistani universities so that Pakistani startups can access mentors and obtain practical advice from seasoned industry leaders in the U.S.  Another U.S. program, the Pakistan Firms Project, helps to increase the profitability and incomes of small and medium-sized enterprises in vulnerable areas, by identifying and removing constraints to private-sector job growth in key areas such as agriculture, livestock, minerals, and tourism.  In addition, the United States has also recently launched the multi-year Pakistan Private Investment Initiative.  Drawing on public-private partnerships, this initiative will spur job growth and economic development by expanding access to capital for Pakistan’s small- to medium-sized companies.

More than 100 corporate and private sponsors supported TiE’s competition, during which graduate-level university students had the opportunity to fine-tune their business plans and compete for funding.  Successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other investors from around the country volunteered their time to judge the competition, with the majority of the more than 250 judges coming from the investment sector.