Islamabad: Federal Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunications Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said on Monday that 272 start-ups have graduated from Ignite’s national incubation center with a total investment commitment of 8 billion rupees and cumulative revenues of 3 billion rupees, these fledgling companies have created more than a thousand new jobs in the past three and a half years.

MOITT and its technology innovation arm Ignite recently launched Pakistan’s first national investment platform called PakImpactinvest, the minister said at an event titled Accelerator Program for Women Entrepreneurs.

According to this program, the 9 women entrepreneurs must leave for the United States on May 10, 2022 for eight weeks. The program was launched by Indus Entrepreneurs Islamabad Office (TiE Islamabad) in partnership with the US Embassy for Women Entrepreneurs, which not only provides growth-stage start-ups with the tools, coaching and mentorship needed, but also offers its female entrepreneurs access to global investors and venture capitalists.

The core curriculum revolves around networking, mentoring, and investor engagements in major US ecosystems like San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, and New York.

He said COVID-19 was a catalyst for Pakistan’s start-up landscape, which has seen investment rise from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million in 2021. The prolonged lockdown and quarantines have given entrepreneurs the opportunity to create digital products with human impact.

Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said the government has allowed equity ownership for start-ups outside Pakistan, helping to boost foreign investment.

He said the gender gap in start-up funding is quite large in the Pakistani ecosystem. According to deal flow figures from 2018-2019, of the funding raised by women-led businesses, 63% came from angel investments and 25% came from development programs (donors/grants).

“I am sure that this initiative will fill the gap effectively. Additionally, there is a dire need to increase the overall funnel of women-led businesses, whether by encouraging incubators and accelerators to actively seek out more female founders for their programs or by providing more hands-on business support. led by women in the early stages and improving their access to investors operating in the post-seed stage,” the minister said.

Syed Amin-Ul-Haque informed TiE Islamabad about the US State Department-funded Women Entrepreneur Accelerator Program to fill this gap through its innovative design and experiential learning platform that will provide this group of female entrepreneurs access to international incubators and foreign investors.

“I am particularly excited about the role that the Pakistani diaspora in the United States will play in supporting our women-led businesses,” he added. It is worth mentioning here that TiE, which has its roots in Silicon Valley with an extensive network of partners in the United States and Pakistan, is uniquely positioned to provide much-needed international exposure and connections to this group of female entrepreneurs.

On this occasion, the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, ​​Raymond Castillo, said, “We at the U.S. Embassy have been impressed by the commitment to excellence demonstrated the initial 500 applicants throughout the virtual program. These efforts will lead to a better future for Pakistan and the world.