National Science & Technology Park and U.S. Embassy Islamabad jointly hosted the Rising Stars Startup Competition grand finale event at NUST Islamabad. #RSSC is an entrepreneurship competition for women and minority entrepreneurs in Pakistan.
The final stage featured 26 exceptional teams selected from more than 300 participants across Pakistan following an intensive evaluation process. At the Grand Finale, these teams demonstrated their revolutionary ideas and entrepreneurial dynamism while participating in an engaging expo where participants showcased their innovative projects and solutions.
The competition offered an unprecedented prize pool exceeding PKR 6 Million, including seed money and laptops, for all participants. Four National Winners were recognized, six Regional Winners, and an outstanding performer was honored.
There were 24 women, two men, and one transgender person competing as finalists, representing various religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Andrew Schofer, the U.S. Mission to Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission, was the Guest of Honor at this event. He delivered his opening remarks: “The U.S. Mission to Pakistan is proud of being an integral part of nurturing a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem in Pakistan by supporting young entrepreneurs. Since 2012, the Embassy has funded over 181 entrepreneurship-related projects totaling $14.7 million.”
Dr. Rizwan Riaz, Pro-Rector of NUST, acknowledged the efforts made by the U.S. government in supporting entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan.
Dr. Rizwan Riaz expressed gratitude to the U.S. Embassy and NUST for working together to advance diversity and inclusion, increase the presence of diverse leaders within Pakistani entrepreneurship sectors, and contribute to long-term economic development in Pakistan.
U.S. Embassy Islamabad sponsored “Rising Stars of Pakistan,” a collaboration between #NSTP (NUST) and California-based Draper University, including mentorship by Pakistani American experts residing in Silicon Valley for emerging Pakistani founders. Pak Mission Society served as Outreach Partner.
How RSSC Impacted Women and Minority Entrepreneurs
Rising Stars Startup Competition (#RSSC) has emerged as a beacon of hope for women and minority entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Hosted jointly by the National Science & Technology Park and U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, it has demonstrated remarkable results in terms of diversity and inclusion within Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Of its 24 finalists – 23 women, two men, and one transgender person from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds – 23 represented religiously, while 2 represented ethnically. Overall this competition truly showcased Innovation and entrepreneurship within Pakistan!
Fostering Entrepreneurial Spirit with #RSSC’s Comprehensive Evaluation Process
One of the hallmarks of the Rising Stars Startup Competition was its intensive evaluation process. Over 300 participants from across Pakistan vied to make it to the final round, with 26 exceptional teams being chosen and, in the future, into a Grand Finale to demonstrate groundbreaking ideas and unwavering entrepreneurialism that may help shape Pakistan’s future.
Fostering Economic Growth: The Role of the U.S. Embassy in Entrepreneurship
The U.S. Embassy’s support of entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan has been essential in building an energetic entrepreneurship ecosystem. Since 2012, funding 181 entrepreneurship-related projects worth an estimated $14.7 million through this mission has enabled young Pakistani entrepreneurs to dream big while creating job opportunities – ultimately driving economic development.
Honoring Innovation at the Grand Finale Expo
The Grand Finale of the #RSSC was not only a competition but also allowed participants to showcase their innovative projects and solutions. An engaging expo hosted during the event provided finalists with an invaluable platform to connect with potential investors, partners, and the general public – giving them valuable feedback and securing the necessary support to turn their ideas into viable ventures.
Empowering Pakistan’s Youth: Keynote Address by Andrew Schofer
Andrew Schofer, the Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan, delivered an unforgettable keynote speech during the Grand Finale, resonating deeply with young entrepreneurs. Schofer stressed the significance of cultivating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship within Pakistan as well as encouraging young people to dream big, take risks, and be agents of positive change within their country.
Building International Bridges: Draper University’s Role
Collaboration between #NSTP (NUST) and California-based Draper University has proven critical in providing world-class mentoring and advice to #NSTP (NUST) finalists. Pakistani American experts residing in Silicon Valley served as mentors to emerging Pakistani founders, offering invaluable insight and access to global entrepreneurial networks.
Prize Pool for Startup Growth
The generous prize pool of over PKR 6 million significantly boosted winning teams. Alongside seed money and laptops, this competition’s cash rewards have enabled entrepreneurs to accelerate their startup development while scaling operations – providing financial fuel that may propel these startups toward even greater success and impact.
An Outlook for the Future: NUST and U.S. Embassy’s Ongoing Collaboration
The Rising Stars of Pakistan initiative is a testament to the strong collaboration between NUST and U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. Both entities aim to encourage diversity and inclusion within Pakistan’s entrepreneurial landscape; by working closely together, they hope to foster an environment in which diverse leaders can thrive while contributing significantly towards the economic and technological advancement of their respective countries.
Pak Mission Society: Strengthening Outreach
Collaboration between the Pak Mission Society and Rising Stars Startup Competition has expanded its reach and impact. Outreach efforts of the Pak Mission Society have assisted with recruiting potential participants from all regions of Pakistan – giving promising entrepreneurs from every part of Pakistan a chance to showcase their ideas nationally.
Rising Stars Beyond Competition: An Opportunity for Lifelong Support
Rising Stars Startup Competition may have reached its grand finale, but its lasting effects extend far beyond. It provides lifelong support to participants through mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and access to resources – providing entrepreneurs who took part with a solid base from which they can continue contributing positively to Pakistan’s startup ecosystem.