“Startup Dosti” Indo-Pak Business Plan Competition launched by Atlantic Council

The Atlantic Council has launched a new cross-border business plan competition, Startup Dosti, with an aim to connect entrepreneurs from India, Pakistan, and the Diaspora community and facilitate cross-border investment and collaboration.

pakistan_indiaStartup Dosti, according to a press release issued by The Atlantic Council, provides business support and seed funding to high-potential, early stage startups in India and Pakistan. A partnership between SEED Ventures (Karachi-London), the Indian Angel Network (New Delhi), and the Atlantic Council (Washington, DC), the competition will be televised by GEO TV in Pakistan and an Indian broadcast partner. Contestants will have the opportunity to win seed funding-and incubation, mentorship, and access to business resources-if they successfully convince a cross-border panel of seasoned investors to support their enterprises.

“GEO TV Network is pleased to partner with the Atlantic Council to highlight the spirit of entrepreneurs from Pakistan and India,” said Sulaiman S. Lalani, Executive Director, GEO TV Network. “The program will not only provide opportunities for youth from these countries to pitch their ideas and make their dreams come true, but also will bring the peoples of two countries closer to each other.”

“Startup Dosti will interconnect the entrepreneurial communities across India and Pakistan, thus creating a platform for exchange of ideas, mentoring, assistance in access to markets, and perhaps funding,” said Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel Network. “Given the similarities in the market stages in India and Pakistan, entrepreneurs from both countries can now look forward to assisted access to a significantly sized market in their neighborhood.”

The competition is the flagship program of the Dosti Partnership, a wider regional project connecting established young entrepreneurs and rising business leaders from India, Pakistan, and the global Diaspora to develop cross-border businesses and continue improvements in bilateral relations. The initiative is named “Dosti” after the word for “friendship” in both Hindu and Urdu.

“We at the Atlantic Council view India and Pakistan as vital partners,” said David Kirk, Young Atlanticist program director, Atlantic Council. “Building bridges between young entrepreneurs in the two countries, and with peers in the Atlantic community, is one of our top priorities.”

“Our only future is a shared future—it is up to this generation to forge new connections to lead us into a new and prosperous era, and it is our pleasure to join with our friends at IAN and the Atlantic Council to work towards this common goal,” said Faraz Khan, CEO, SEED Ventures.

The Dosti Partnership is a timely project seeking to build upon steadily improving relations between India and Pakistan.

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