Islamabad - The US embassy in Islamabad and the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Islamabad chapter, in collaboration with the US Pakistan Women’s Council, launched the 2015 Pakistan StartUp Cup, an intensive, nationwide business competition.

Entrepreneurs selected to participate in StartUp Cup will receive coaching through multi-day “Build-a-Business” workshops and regular mentoring to help turn their ideas into a commercial reality. Prize money of 10,000, 7,500, and 5,000 dollars will be awarded to the winner and two runners-up with the best startup concept.

At the opening ceremony, Thomas E Williams, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Islamabad, said, “Programs like StartUp Cup foster greater inclusiveness in Pakistan’s economy, particularly for women. The entrepreneurial solutions that arise from competitions such as StartUp Cup foster inclusiveness, grow economies, promote stability, expand the international supply chain, and spread the exchange of ideas.”

Over the course of the seven-month program, aspiring Pakistani entrepreneurs will learn to design viable business models, develop customers, and launch their startup business concepts in the marketplace.  This year’s program will build on the success of last year’s StartUp Cup, which saw over 400 entrepreneurs compete for one of the top three prizes.  Last year’s winning team went on to defeat 170 other entrepreneurs to win the first-ever World StartUp Cup competition in Yerevan, Armenia.

The 2015 StartUp Cup in Pakistan will introduce new partnerships with entrepreneurship centers across Pakistan, including the world’s first Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) in Islamabad sponsored by the U.S. Department of State  in collaboration with the U.S. Pakistan Women’s Council; the Lahore University for Management Science, Center for Entrepreneurship; and Karachi-based  “The Nest I/O.”  The partnerships between StartUp Cup and these centers will ensure that newly established businesses receive sustained support and mentoring, essential tools for long-term success.

Numerous U.S. Embassy programs assist Pakistan’s entrepreneurs by increasing their access to financial resources, supporting opportunities for entrepreneurship education, and nurturing an entrepreneurial culture.