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Pakistan’s Bold Move: Government Launches Startup Fund with Vision for $10 Billion Foreign Investment

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, the Pakistan Startup Fund was inaugurated by the Ministry of Information Technology, aiming to mitigate risks for budding entrepreneurs.

The government holds high expectations for this initiative, committing an annual investment of Rs2 billion, and anticipating an additional Rs10 billion in foreign investment.

Umar Saif, the IT Minister, emphasized the project’s goal of injecting a total of Rs 50 billion into Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. During a media briefing post-launch, Saif highlighted the potential deterrent effect on investors when faced with elevated risks during a startup’s early stages.

Startup

To address this, the government plans to contribute up to 30% of the investment in startups, effectively lowering the perceived risk.

Saif underscored that, despite the absence of a unicorn in Pakistan, the nation boasts several promising startups capable of achieving that status under favorable circumstances.

He revealed that approximately $800-850 million has been invested in startups in recent years, with 85 incubators currently operating in the country. Saif expressed the belief that, while Pakistan often seeks financial support from lenders, the real economic solution lies in nurturing and supporting the startup sector.

Pakistani freelancers can now receive payment through PayPal

Meanwhile, caretaker IT Minister Dr. Umar Saif has taken a step to enhance the freelancer economy in Pakistan by announcing that freelancers will now be able to receive their payments through PayPal.

Dr. Saif clarified in a video message on Sunday that although PayPal is not directly establishing its presence in Pakistan, an agreement has been established to route remittances through PayPal via a third-party intermediary.

He acknowledged the longstanding demand of freelancers for PayPal access, emphasizing that under the newly devised program, freelancers won’t need to open a PayPal account. Instead, individuals outside the country will make payments from their PayPal accounts, and the funds will be swiftly deposited into the freelancers’ accounts.

This move is expected to streamline the payment process for over one million freelancers in Pakistan. PayPal, a global online payment system facilitating online money transfers, operates in 190 markets worldwide, providing a convenient solution for freelancers to receive payments more efficiently.

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