Invest2Innovate (i2i) is proud to announce the launch of the i2i Ecosystem project with a $500,000 USD commitment from Visa Foundation. i2i Ecosystem is a transformative initiative set to address critical gaps and reshape the rapidly growing entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan with a focus on boosting women entrepreneurship.
Pakistan has a burgeoning startup scene that is primarily comprised of entrepreneurs under the age of 30. What started as a nascent entrepreneurial system with average investments of $10M a year in funding between 2016 and 2018, has rapidly grown. In 2019, the total funding amount rose to $47M followed by steeper growth of a total funding amount of $350M in 2021. Despite this growth, Pakistani startups still face several challenges such as limited access to resources, fragmented ecosystems, skill gaps, lack of tailored support, restricted investor connections, and underdeveloped mentorship networks.
Far beyond a reactive measure, i2iEcosystem represents a proactive stride toward a critical effort to comprehensively address three areas in the startup sector and holistically support entrepreneurs: a reliable data repository to help inform decisions such as founder-investor matching; network building to bring appropriate founders, investors, and industry experts together to support entrepreneurs; and a unique cluster-based accelerator to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, skills, and education to help drive sustainable growth. With targeted support, customized resources, and a collaborative community approach, the initiative seeks to unlock the full potential of the tech-savvy youth demographic.
“The current juncture presents an opportune moment for its launch, capitalizing on the nation’s transformative growth momentum and positioning Pakistan as a global force in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Sana Khalid, CEO of Invest2Innovate. “We are also extremely thrilled about the launch of this transformative initiative with Visa Foundation. This collaboration stands as a testament to our shared goal of building a comprehensive, flourishing, and equitable entrepreneurial environment in Pakistan for the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow. Together, we aspire to foster a resilient ecosystem that drives shared success and meaningful impact for all.”
“Visa Foundation’s core goal of supporting women and underserved entrepreneurs is reflected in our collaboration with i2i and support of i2i Ecosystem project,” said Graham Macmillan, President, Visa Foundation. “As one of the first Pakistani entrepreneurship support organizations in the country, i2i has a proven track record of deftly leveraging their network, deep technical assistance expertise, and data capabilities to foster business opportunities for women and underserved entrepreneurs in emerging markets. We look forward to working together and helping create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for all.”
The i2i Ecosystem project is a testament to the commitment of both Invest2Innovate and Visa Foundation towards creating a sustainable, inclusive, and innovative future for the entrepreneurial community in Pakistan. This collaboration is set to lay the groundwork for enduring positive change in the region’s startup ecosystem.