‘US committed to promote local entrepreneurship’

January 15, 2015

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KARACHI: US Consul General Brian Heath on Wednesday reiterated his government commitment to promote local entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
“US government is committed to support entrepreneurs in Pakistan,” Heath said at the launch of a technology incubator. To the much respite of resources-strapped technology entrepreneurs in the city, Pakistan Software Houses Association (Pasha) is managing the incubation centre with a total fund of $1.3 million. Of this amount, the US government pledged $300,000 for three years. Samsung and Google for Entrepreneurs are other two major partners of this initiative.
“The US government will continue to support private enterprises,” the Consul General said. “This (incubation funding) is just a part of various initiatives the US government started to spur private sector-led growth in Pakistan,” Heath said.
He said entrepreneurs drive economic growth and create jobs both in US and around the world.
All the famous technology enterprises began their operations on the back of the entrepreneur, he added, citing Google and Facebook as examples.
The technology incubation centre is going to provide free working space, uninterrupted power supply, mentoring, international market outreach and networking to the newbie who is unable to kick-start his/her project because of the unavailability of any resource, said Jehan Ara, president at Pasha.
Besides, they (start-ups) will be given different devices, like tablets and mobile phones to test their new apps/software. They could also get a free access to Google Cloud platform for $100,000 worth of services.
Jehan Ara emphasised that there would be no equity and no string attached to this service.
“A technology incubator was badly needed for the city having a large population and lack of job opportunities,” she said.
“However, external incubatees, who couldn’t come to our place for any reason, will also be supported.” The startups can also use 30 such facilities established by Google around the world, she added.
Jehan Ara said at present the centre could accommodate a limited number of team, seeking more angel funds to give a shot in the arm of the tenderfoot who want to introduce new IT products and applications.
“I have assembled this 3D printer on my own fund as a project thesis,” said Farrukh Bhabha, an incubatee, while showcasing two of his machines, which are designing plastic sculptures of different kinds.
Bhabha, a student of a local private university, said that later Microsoft had provided him a co-working space at its entrepreneurship centre for six months.
He imported most of the spare parts to assemble 3D printers from China. “I have got some of them engineered at local workshops,” he added.

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