Khayam Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, SEPT 17 (DNA) – In a competition featuring some of the most innovative women-led businesses in Pakistan, a panel of business experts selected 12 startups out of a pool of 476 for the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to Silicon Valley investors via the U.S. Embassy’s Accelerator Program for Women Entrepreneurs (APWE).  Sponsored by the U.S. government, the APWE promotes women’s economic empowerment through fostering female entrepreneurship. 

Following a rigorous selection process, 75 startups were shortlisted and received professional feedback and coaching on their entrepreneurship plans and pitches.  The list was further narrowed down to 35 startups who were invited to participate in a virtual pitch competition modeled after the famous American television series, Shark Tank.  Based on these pitches, a panel of accomplished business leaders selected the top 12 finalists who will receive the resources, coaching, mentorship, and sustainable platforms needed to develop business connections with both local and global investors to prepare for their trip to the United States.  

“I know each and every one of you has big dreams to change your communities and your country,” said Assistant Cultural Attaché Juan J. German in his remarks to participants. “Your interest in women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, and social development shows how much you care about Pakistan’s future!” he added.

APWE is one of many U.S. government sponsored exchanges in Pakistan.  Each year, the U.S. Mission in Pakistan sends more than 800 Pakistanis to the United States on a variety of academic and professional exchanges.