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United States will continue to support development of Pakistan’s entrepreneurs: Olson

Islamabad, January 10, 2013 (PPI-OT): U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson affirmed that the United States will continue to support the development of Pakistan’s entrepreneurs, including through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund, during a visit to the National University of Sciences and Technology’s (NUST) Technology Incubation Center in Islamabad today.

“We all know that societies thrive when their people have ample opportunity, and this is why the United States supports young entrepreneurs in Pakistan,” said Ambassador Olson during a tour of NUST’s state-of-the-art Technology Incubation Center.

While at NUST, Ambassador Olson announced that the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund, which supports small-scale, high-impact programs for communities throughout Pakistan, will now also focus on support to Pakistan’s entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Embassy also recently unveiled an entrepreneurship program called Khushhali Ka Safar (Journey to Prosperity), which provides support to innovative Pakistani entrepreneurs by connecting them with American investors and mentors, particularly from the Pakistani-American diaspora and academic institutions.

Ambassador Olson highlighted NUST’s future Center for Advanced Studies, which will focus on Pakistan’s energy needs, and is being established together by the Governments of Pakistan and the United States. Three Centers will eventually be established across the country.

“These Centers, a five-year, $127 million program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will promote the development of Pakistan’s water, energy, and agriculture sectors through applied research, training, university linkages, and contributions towards policy formation. We look forward to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation through the strong links each center will have with the private sector,” said the Ambassador.

In addition, the United States recently launched the multi-year Pakistan Private Investment Initiative. Drawing on public-private partnerships, this initiative will spur job growth and economic development by expanding access to capital for Pakistan’s small- to medium-sized companies.

Another U.S. program, the Pakistan Firms Project, helps to increase the profitability and incomes of small and medium-sized businesses in vulnerable areas by identifying and removing constraints to private-sector job growth in key areas such as agriculture, livestock, minerals, and tourism.

The Technology Incubation Center (TIC), an initiative of NUST, is the first of six TICs across Pakistan. The TIC provides a nurturing environment to help technology-based business ideas prosper in Pakistan. The TIC also brings academia and the private sector together to create a platform for commercializing research. It currently provides support to 14 new companies.

The United States, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law and Development Program, supports TIC by bringing TIC staff to the United States to learn best practices of how to bring research out of the laboratory and into the market.

For more information on the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund, see: http://www.sgafp.org.pk/af/index.html. To learn about U.S. efforts to improve the economy and create jobs in Pakistan, see: http://goo.gl/paVdH

For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Section
Embassy of the United States of America
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251-208 0000
Fax: +9251-227 8607
E-mail: webmasterisb@state.gov

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