Pakistan’s first STP, the National Science &Technology Park, in collaboration with US Embassy, has launched the Rising Stars Startup Competition for Minorities at NUST.  

The launching of the Startup Competition was part of the Hatch 8 Cohort 3 graduation ceremony held at NSTP on the 22nd of December. The Minister for Planning and Development Mr. Ahsan Iqbal graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.  

Designed by NSTP to increase the quality and quantity of entrepreneurs from marginalized and underprivileged communities of Pakistan, the primary objective of the Program is to increase the presence of diverse leaders in the entrepreneurial sector in Pakistan that shall in turn contribute to the overall long-term economic growth. The competition will be run by NSTP in collaboration with the US Embassy, while Draper University and Pak Mission Society will be knowledge partner and outreach partner, respectively. 

Through this program, participants will receive valuable resources and support including mentorship from industry professionals, access to networking events, and financial assistance for business development, under the co-mentorship from both Pakistani and the United States of America.  

The aim is to promulgate cultural entrepreneurship amongst underprivileged communities to the extent that they are capable enough to launch successful ventures themselves.  

During his opening remarks, Pro-Rector RIC & VP NSTP, Dr. Rizwan Riaz added that ‘We are committed to supporting and empowering minority entrepreneurs, especially women, as they build and grow their businesses. Hence the Program aims at providing equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds.’ 

Speaking at the occasion, GM Innovation, Emmad Ahsan said, ‘The U.S Embassy’s strong commitment to Pakistan startups and sponsorship of this competition will further foster an entrepreneurial spirit across the nation – from extensive coaching and mentoring, we will see a positive ripple effect with local communities empowered by their own homegrown business culture.’ 

Hands-on trainings and workshops shall be provided to the participants to build on their entrepreneurial skills and business acumen. Upon graduation, they shall be able to showcase their businesses to a wide range of experts and investors, and help themselves in securing funding for their respective startups. The 9-month long program will be delivered in a hybrid mode with most of the content delivered from on part of NSTP will be in person while the modules and training from the partner Draper University, will be virtual.  

In order to facilitate networking in the community of innovators, startups will also be made to visit the industry and innovation hubs, and be offered pitching opportunities based on their respective readiness levels. This is so as to boost their pitching skills and prepare them for smooth interactions with investors in the future. Following a series of shortlisting, the program winners shall be decided after the final pitches. The winner will be awarded the Rising Star Award of PKR 1,000,000, while the second and third winner will be given PKR 600,000 and PKR 400,000, respectively.  


Apply for the competition here: Rising Stars Start-UP Competition (