US embassy supports women-led start-ups in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD   –   Nine Pakistani women entrepreneurs left for the United States this week under a programme funded by the US Embassy in Islamabad and launched by the Indus Entrepreneurs Islamabad, the American embassy announced on Friday.

The Accelerator Programme for Women Entrepreneurs is an innovative training programme and competition which connects women-owned Pakistani start-ups with American business tools, coaching and mentoring.

The programme received an overwhelming response from 450 women-led businesses.  Seventy-five shortlisted start-ups then went through a rigorous process of mentoring workshops and pitching competitions, out of which the top 12 start-ups were selected for a 15-week Founders Institute Acceleration Programme.  Out of these 12 start-ups, nine women entrepreneurs were selected for an in-person acceleration exchange, the US embassy statement said.

During the visit, the women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to attend major conferences and visit offices of major companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and PayPal.

They will also visit local US-based incubators such as 9 Mile Labs, Kiwi Tech, Angel Pad and Alchemist. The participants will be provided with multiple networking opportunities throughout the eight-week period and will be pitching to selected US-based investors present in both the east and the west coast.

Addressing a ceremony, organised by the TIE Islamabad chapter before the departure of the Pakistani women entrepreneurs to the United States, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque said that this programme provides Pakistani women entrepreneurs with access to international incubators and foreign Investors.  “I am particularly excited about the role the Pakistani diaspora in the US will play in supporting our women-led enterprises,” he added.

US Embassy’s Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs Raymond Castillo said: “We at the US Embassy have been impressed by the commitment to excellence that all of the original 500 applicants showed throughout the virtual programme.  These efforts will lead to a brighter future for Pakistan and the world.  As the finalists here at this ceremony, you should be extremely proud.  Your persistence has paid off, and you will now represent Pakistan in the United States.  You are the future women entrepreneurs of Pakistan.”

The Accelerator Programme for Women Entrepreneurs funded by the US State Department not only provides growth stage start-ups with necessary tools, coaching and mentoring, but also provides women entrepreneurs with access to global investors and venture capitalists.

The core eight-week programme revolves around networking, mentoring and investor engagements in leading US ecosystems like San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC and New York.

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