IT Minister Launches BridgeStart Program to Support Pakistani Startups

In a significant boost to Pakistan’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, the Federal Minister of IT and Telecom has unveiled the BridgeStart program.

In a significant boost to Pakistan’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, the Federal Minister of IT and Telecom has unveiled the BridgeStart program. This initiative aims to facilitate Pakistani startups with ambitions of global expansion by providing substantial funding opportunities.

Announced by IT Minister, the BridgeStart program is set to fund 100 startups annually, offering them a chance to be incubated or accelerated in any of the top 40 incubators or accelerators worldwide. The program’s objective is to enable Pakistani startups to access more developed ecosystems and secure additional sources of funding, fostering their growth and success on an international scale.

Reflecting on the rationale behind BridgeStart, Minister drew upon his experience with Plan9 and the eight National Incubation Centers (NIC) across Pakistan.

He highlighted that startups which had the opportunity to participate in renowned programs like YCombinator, Capital Factory, and 500 Startups experienced accelerated growth, thanks to their access to advanced ecosystems and funding avenues. However, many promising startups were unable to join such programs due to financial constraints related to travel, lodging, and other associated expenses.

BridgeStart aims to bridge this gap by offering startups financial support of up to Rs. 5 million, provided they meet the qualifying criteria for one of the top 40 international programs. Minister emphasized that the focus for startups should be on achieving the requisite level of excellence, as BridgeStart will handle the logistical and financial aspects, enabling them to fully concentrate on their growth and development.

The announcement of BridgeStart comes at a crucial time for Pakistan’s startup landscape, which has been witnessing rapid growth and attracting increasing attention both domestically and internationally. With the support of initiatives like BridgeStart, Pakistani startups are poised to capitalize on their potential and make significant strides in the global arena.

BridgeStart represents a strategic investment in the future of Pakistan’s technology and innovation sector. By empowering startups to access global resources and opportunities, the program aims to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities in the country.

In addition to facilitating access to international incubators and accelerators, BridgeStart is expected to contribute to the development of a more robust and interconnected startup ecosystem within Pakistan. By nurturing collaboration and knowledge exchange between local and international players, the program seeks to create a conducive environment for startup success and sustainable growth.

The launch of BridgeStart underscores the government’s commitment to supporting and nurturing the startup ecosystem in Pakistan. By providing startups with the necessary resources and opportunities to thrive on a global scale, the program aims to position Pakistan as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and beyond.

As Pakistani startups embark on their journey to global expansion through BridgeStart, they carry with them not only their entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity but also the hopes and aspirations of a nation eager to make its mark on the global stage. With the backing of initiatives like BridgeStart, the future looks bright for Pakistan’s startup ecosystem, poised for success and recognition on the world stage.