Gender gap in start-up funding prominent in Pakistani ecosystem: Amin

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Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin-Ul-Haque on Monday said that 272 start-ups have graduated from Ignite’s National Incubation centre with a total investment commitment of Rs. 8 billion and cumulative revenue of Rs. 3 billion, these nascent companies have created more than thousand new jobs in last 3 and half years.

The MOITT and its Tech Innovation Arm Ignite has recently launched Pakistan’s First National Investment Platform called PakImpactinvest, the minister said this while speaking in an event titled Accelerator Program for Women Entrepreneurs.

According to this Program the 9 women entrepreneurs are set to leave for the USA on May 10, 2022 for eight weeks.

The Program was launched by The Indus Entrepreneurs Islamabad office (TiE Islamabad) in partnership with the US Embassy for Women Entrepreneurs which not only provides growth stage start-ups with necessary tools, coaching and mentoring, but it also provides its women entrepreneurs with access to global investors and venture capitalists.

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

He said COVID-19 was a catalyst for the start-up landscape in Pakistan, which saw Investments rise from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million in 2021. Extended lockdown and quarantines provided entrepreneurs the opportunity to create digital products with human impacts.

Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said that the Government has allowed holding shares for start-ups to be outside Pakistan, thus helping to push foreign investments.

He said the gender gap in start-up funding is quiet prominent in the Pakistani ecosystem.

According to 2018-19 deal flow figures, of the funding raised by female-led companies, 63% was via angel investment and 25% was from development programs (donors/Grants).

“I am sure that this initiative will bridge the gap in an efficient manner. Furthermore, there is a dire need to increase the overall funnel of women-led companies, whether by encouraging Incubators and accelerators to actively seek more female founders for their programs or providing more hands-on support to women-led companies at the early stages and improving their access to investors operating post-seed stage”, the minister said.

Syed Amin-Ul-Haque apprised the TiE Islamabad about the Accelerator Program for Women Entrepreneurs funded by the US State Department to address this gap through its innovative design and experimental learning platform which will provide this group of women entrepreneurs with access to international incubators and foreign investors.

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