Entrepreneurship and innovation help boost employment, productivity, and trade, and can drive a nation’s economy. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is building the future of entrepreneurship in Pakistan by offering Challenge Fund grants of up to $200,000 to motivated entrepreneurs and innovators.
At an event in Islamabad today, American and Pakistani officials celebrated the successes of 20 Challenge Fund grant recipients from Pakistan who have created exciting new business solutions in the information technology, hospitality, textile, light engineering, and agri-business, sectors.
The innovations supported by the Challenge Fund are helping small and medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan enhance their competitiveness, and are increasing jobs, sales, exports, access to markets, and the adoption of new technologies.
Speaking at the event, Qazi Zaheer Ahmad, Senior Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production applauded the innovative solutions developed by the Pakistani entrepreneurs and their efforts to uplift Pakistan’s economy. He also thanked the United States for its assistance to Pakistan’s business sector.
“It is so encouraging to see that the small seeds we planted with this program less than a year ago have already turned ideas into profitable realities and innovative solutions,” said Julie Koenen, USAID Pakistan’s Mission Director. She added, “I am confident that over the next few years, we will see many more innovative startups grow with funding received through the Challenge Fund.”
USAID runs two grant programs (Innovation Grants and SME Growth Grants) for which legally registered local for- and not-for profit organizations, individual entrepreneurs and businesses in Pakistan can apply. Grants range from $20,000 to $50,000, and successful grantees can apply for larger Challenge Grant opportunities up to $200,000.