ISLAMABAD: As many as 28 startups from different universities of Pakistan have won a grant of up to Rs10 million each under the Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s Innovator Seed Fund (ISF) for their groundbreaking innovative business ideas.

In this connection, HEC held a two-day national pitching competition wherein 65 startups competed with their innovative entrepreneurial startups in the areas of agriculture, food resource and agri tech, e-commerce and smart retail, education and EdTech, emerging technologies, health care and health tech, housing construction and manufacturing, sustainable development, climate and energy and transportation and logistics, says a press release issued by HEC on Friday.

It said the winning startup teams belonged to different universities across Pakistan, making the participant pool diverse and inclusive. The jury consisted of 14 notable entrepreneurs/industry experts.

HEC received 205 concept notes this year, out of which 144 startups submitted their full business proposals. Finally, 65 startups were shortlisted for the pitching competition after passing them through different phases of scrutiny and evaluations.

The chief guest of the event was business and industry expert, Sohail P. Ahmad. Managing Director National Academy of Higher Education Noor Amna Malik, country operations manager World Bank Pakistan Gailius Draugelis, senior economist World Bank Inga Afanasieva and vice chancellors of universities were present at the event.

According to HEC, last year it had awarded 15 ISF grants and HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed doubled the number of grants seeing the enthusiasm of the participants and quality of their innovative startup ideas.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2023

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