The U.S. Government celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 by recognizing the achievements of 25 Pakistani entrepreneurs who received grants to establish and expand their small and medium enterprises (SMEs). At a virtual event today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recognized the participants who received Challenge Fund grants and created exciting new businesses in the information technology, hospitality, textile, light engineering, and agri-business sectors.
USAID funding and support through the Small and Medium Enterprise Activity project helped participants overcome challenges, secure private sector funding, and strengthen their businesses over the past year. Entrepreneurship and innovation help boost employment, productivity, and trade, as well as drive a nations economy. Together, the 25 participants and their businesses have created 294 new full-time jobs, generated $4.2 million in revenue, produced exports valued at $1.9 million, and leveraged $1.15 million in private sector investment.
While today marks the successful completion of 25 Challenge Fund grants, entrepreneurship must continue to be promoted and advanced to stimulate economic activity and improve the lives of Pakistanis, said Angela P. Aggeler, Chargé d?Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America. Global Entrepreneurship Week reminds us that growing the economy and creating employment opportunities for youth can only be achieved by unleashing the energy of young, innovative entrepreneurs.
The Challenge Fund provides grants that help SMEs in Pakistan enhance their competitiveness, create new jobs, increase sales and exports, improve access to new markets, and adopt new technologies. The grants identify key challenges that hamper growth and then invite innovators to design and implement solutions. Twenty-five small and medium enterprises were selected during the last grant competition to receive Innovation and Growth grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 each. To date, the project has awarded a total of 87 grants across Pakistan.
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