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ISLAMABAD: NUST, in partnership with the US embassy, organised the grand finale event for “Rising Stars of Pakistan”, a startup competition for women and minority entrepreneurs.

In his opening remarks at the event, Deputy Chief of Mission Andrew Schofer said, “The US Mission to Pakistan is proud to be part of cultivating a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Pakistan and empowering young people to dream big, take risks and become the job creators and change makers that Pakistan needs.”

Since 2012, the US embassy has funded over 181 entrepreneurship related projects valued at 14.7 million dollars. Schofer was joined by Pro Rector NUST, Dr Rizwan Riaz, who acknowledged the efforts of the US government in supporting entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan.

Dr Riaz expressed appreciation for ongoing collaboration between the US embassy and NUST to foster diversity and inclusion and to increase the presence of diverse leaders in the entrepreneurial sector in Pakistan that contribute to Pakistan's long term economic growth.

More than 800 emerging startups were completed throughout the various stages of the competition, resulting in an opportunity for the top 26 emerging entrepreneurs to travel to Islamabad to present their ideas at the grand finale event.

The finalists included 23 women, two men, and one transgender person. The finalists represented a range of religious and ethnic backgrounds, highlighting the competition’s commitment to promoting inclusion and fostering a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem. The top three business ideas were awarded seed financing in the amounts of PKR 1 million, PKR 700,000 and PKR 500,000, respectively.

Sponsored by US embassy Islamabad, the “Rising Stars of Pakistan” has been collaboration between NUST and California based Draper University and included Pakistani American experts based in Silicon Valley as mentors for the emerging Pakistani founders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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