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 Rs8b and cumulative revenue of Rs3b, these nascent companies have created more than thousand new jobs in last three 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 nine 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 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 $65m in 2020 to $350m 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, 63pc was via angel investment and 25pc 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. “I am particularly excited about the role the Pakistani diaspora in the US will play in supporting our women-led enterprises”, he added. It’s worth mentioning here that TiE having its roots in Silicon Valley with extensive network of parters in US and Pakistan is ideally placed to provide the much needed international exposure and linkages to this group of women entrepreneurs. On this occasion the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, Raymond Castillo said: “We at the United States Embassy have been impressed by the commitment to excellence that all of the original 500 applicants showed throughout the virtual program. These efforts will lead to a brighter future for Pakistan and the world. As the finalists here today, you should be extremely proud. Your persistence has paid off, and you will now represent Pakistan in the United States. You are the future women entrepreneurs of Pakistan.” The Accelerator Program for Women Entrepreneurs, a TiE training program and competition for women entrepreneurs that is funded by the U.S. Embassy Islamabad, is an innovative program to connect women-owned Pakistani start-ups with American business tools, coaching and mentoring.