IT Minister introduces a Rs. 2 billion ‘Pakistan Startup Fund

The Caretaker IT Minister, Dr. Umar Saif, officially introduced the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF) in a ceremony attended by local and international venture capitalists, diplomats, and leading tech companies. The fund, amounting to Rs. 2 billion, is designed to expedite venture investment in Pakistan, playing a pivotal role in the country’s economic development.

During the inauguration ceremony, Secretary IT Hasan Nasir Jami and Ignite CEO Asim Shehryar joined Dr. Umar Saif. The minister underscored that the PSF’s primary objective is to accelerate venture investment, offering substantial financial support to startups. Each venture backed by the PSF will receive 30 percent support from the fund, with the remaining 70 percent coming from venture capitalists.

Dr. Umar Saif expressed the government’s commitment to facilitating and boosting the growth of innovative ventures in Pakistan through the PSF. This initiative not only provides financial support but also aims to cultivate a favorable environment for startups to flourish. The IT Ministry is actively working to provide facilities and support for IT startups as part of its broader strategy to enhance the local tech ecosystem.

Highlighting the success of Pakistani startups, Dr. Umar Saif mentioned that they have attracted approximately $800 million in foreign investments over the past four years, indicating a growing global interest in the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.

In a tweet, the Caretaker Minister elaborated that if a foreign venture capitalist is evaluating a Pakistani startup for a $1 million investment, the VC only needs to invest $700,000. The PSF will contribute a grant of $300,000 to help close the funding round. Importantly, the government won’t acquire any equity, shares, or board positions in the startup, emphasizing the PSF’s role in mitigating risk for international investors and supporting the success of Pakistani startups.

During the launch ceremony of the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF), the Caretaker IT Minister stated that the aim of the PSF is to generate a yearly value of at least Rs 50 billion in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. The minister revealed that 8 National Incubation Centers across the country are actively supporting more than 4,000 startups.

The government is committed to assisting startups in securing funding, with an annual allocation of Rs. 2 billion specifically earmarked to help startups raise a substantial Rs. 50 billion. The minister emphasized the significance of this fund in providing financial support to startups and expressed the government’s dedication to fostering a conducive environment for the growth of innovative ventures in Pakistan.

The PSF is set to commence providing financial assistance to startups from March 1. It will offer policy guidelines for venture funds, ensure investment protection for foreign investors, and enable significant corporations to invest in Pakistani startups. This strategic initiative is poised to have a positive impact on the startup ecosystem in the country, encouraging innovation, growth, and investment in the entrepreneurial landscape.

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