Islamabad, Pakistan – The Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF), valued at Rs. 2 billion, was inaugurated by Caretaker IT Minister Dr. Umar Saif on Tuesday. The fund aims to boost venture capital investment in Pakistan as a key part of the country’s economic growth.
The opening ceremony was attended by leading IT companies, diplomats, and local and international venture capitalists, along with Dr. Umar Saif, Secretary IT Hasan Nasir Jami and CEO of Ignite, Asim Shehryar. The Minister underscored that the PSF’s primary objective is accelerating venture capital funding and provide substantial financial assistance to entrepreneurs. Thirty percent of each PSF-backed venture will come from the fund, with venture capitalists providing the remaining seventy percent.
Dr Umar Saif stated the PSF would enable the government to promote and support the growth of innovative ventures in Pakistan. Along with financial assistance, the program seeks to foster an environment conducive to the flourishing of entrepreneurs. As part of a broader plan to strengthen the regional tech ecosystem, the IT Ministry is proactively working to provide facilities and support for IT firms.
Dr Umar Saif highlighted the achievements of Pakistani entrepreneurs, pointing out that in the past four years, they had attracted nearly $800 million in foreign investment, indicating growing global interest in the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.
The Caretaker Minister later tweeted that a foreign VC only needs to invest $700,000 if they consider investing $1 million in a Pakistani company. The PSF will complete the funding round with a $300,000 grant. Notably, the government has opted not to take any equity, shares or board positions in the company, underscoring the PSF’s role in assisting foreign investors by mitigating risk and enabling the success of Pakistani entrepreneurs.
According to a statement by the caretaker IT minister at the event, the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF) aims to create an annualized value of at least Rs 50 billion in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. The Minister revealed that over 4,000 companies are receiving active support from 8 National Incubation Centers nationwide.
With an annual allocation of Rs. 2 billion specifically allotted to help entrepreneurs raise a substantial Rs. 50 billion, the government is committed to assisting businesses to secure capital. The Minister emphasized the significance of this fund in providing initial capital, conveying the government’s dedication to nurturing a supportive climate for the growth of innovative enterprises in Pakistan.
The PSF is expected to begin disbursing funds to companies starting March 1. It will safeguard foreign investors’ investments, provide policy guidelines for venture funds, and enable large corporations to participate with Pakistani entrepreneurs. This strategic initiative is anticipated to stimulate innovation, growth and investment in the entrepreneurial landscape, thus positively impacting the country’s startup ecosystem.