The Rising Stars Startup Competition, a collaboration between the National Science and Technology Park (NSTP) and the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, aims to provide a platform for innovative business ideas to flourish. The Rising Stars Startup Competition has partnered with Draper University as the knowledge partner and Pak Mission Society as the outreach partner.

The competition is focused on empowering entrepreneurs across the country, with a special focus on women and minority groups. It is an unmistakable step towards empowering underrepresented groups by providing them with a platform to showcase their innovative ideas and get access to resources and mentorship.

Week 1: Get Set, Go

In the first week of the programme, over 300 entrepreneurs from all regions of Pakistan participated in a series of workshops and training sessions, with 70 tuning in online, and the rest attending in person at the NSTP.

The participants hailed from various religious and ethnic groups participants from all regions of Pakistan, including Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Balochistan, KPK, Punjab, Sindh, and the Federal Area. The participants were a diverse bunch, including 184 Christians, 18 Hindus, and a sizable number of Muslims. It was heartening to see that 178 out of the total 326 participants were women.

Orientation and Foundation Course: Getting Started

The week began with an orientation event at NSTP, NUST in Islamabad, which provided an overview of the programme and an opportunity for participants to network. An ice-breaking activity in the form of a drum circle was conducted to promote collaboration, followed by a foundation course in key business areas, including marketing and finance.

Building Business Skills

Throughout the week, entrepreneurs participated in workshops and sessions on various aspects of entrepreneurship. The programme included sessions on idea validation and business model canvas, which helped entrepreneurs evaluate and refine their business ideas. The participants learned how to test the viability of their ideas and create a business model that can help them achieve their goals.

Digital marketing, media and analysis were also covered in the programme, which helped the entrepreneurs understand the importance of digital marketing in today’s business landscape. The sessions provided insights into how to leverage digital marketing tools to reach and engage with customers and build brand awareness.

Finally, the programme concluded with a pitching workshop, where entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their business ideas and receive feedback from experts. This was a critical step in the programme as it helped the entrepreneurs understand how to effectively pitch their ideas to potential investors and customers.


The Rising Stars Startup Competition is an excellent initiative that provides a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas. The first week of the programme was successful, with a range of workshops and sessions providing participants with valuable business skills. With opportunities for networking, training, and awards, the competition is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful businesses. The focus on empowering women and minority groups is a step towards creating a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan.

About Rising Starts Startup Competition

The Rising Stars Startup Competition is a nine-month programme that offers a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurs to learn and turn their ideas into successful businesses. Participants will have the opportunity to network and receive training from industry experts, mentors, trainers, and investors. The programme also offers various awards, including the Rising Star Award for the winner of the Rising Stars Startup Competition, with the second and third winners receiving cash prizes. Other awards include the Best Female Team Award, the Regional Winner Award, and the Special Recognition Award for the team with the most outstanding idea.