Strategy needed to bring investment to startups: official

May 30, 2023

Fozia Azam

Pakistan can attract significant investment by promoting startups as small businesses play a vital role in driving economic growth by creating job opportunities, said an official. “The government is considering benefiting from the potential of startups, and necessary steps will be taken to bring investment in this sector,” said Ambreen Iftikhar, Additional Secretary Board of Investment (BOI), while talking to WealthPK. She said startups constitute a key factor to promote sustainability and economic growth. Therefore, she said, there was a dire need to formulate policies and guidelines to encourage startups.

Pakistan has a young and vibrant population, with 65% of its citizens below 35, making it a potential ground for a flourishing startup ecosystem. Experts believe that many startups are part of the informal economy, and policies should be formulated to bring such startups under the formal economy umbrella as this sector offers long-term opportunities compared to other sectors. Understanding the underlying factors that hinder Pakistan’s startup system is important to devise a way forward. Gender disparity is an important aspect that affects the startup ecosystem and prevents women-led startups from achieving their full potential.

Women-run startups raised just 1.4% out of the overall investments raised during the last seven years. It shows there is a lot of room for improvement in this particular area. As per statistics, Pakistan’s startup funding increased by 55% to $23.1 million during the first quarter (January-March) of the calendar year 2023 compared to the previous three-month period (October-December 2022). According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Technology and Innovation Report, out of 158 countries, Pakistan ranks 146 in terms of technology and development. In Pakistan, leisure and entertainment, ecommerce industry, personalised travelling, and recruitment are considered to be the key startup areas.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk