On the 12th of April 2018 the USAID-supported Challenge Fund was officially launched in Islamabad, where the US Ambassador David Hale joined the Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman.
The USAID-supported Challenge Fund is to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the hospitality and Information Communications Technology (ICT) sectors, it is to also incentivize the development and diffusion of innovative, scalable business ideas that will benefit both the private sector and consumers.
The Challenge will be providing funding opportunities to startups and SMEs through two grant programs. The Innovation Grants will offer awards between $20,000 and $24,500 to address sector-wide challenges as identified by the USAID.
Furthermore, the grantees that effectively implement their solution will then have an opportunity to apply for a larger scale up Challenge Grant between $50,000 and $400,000. Growth Grants, valued between $20,000 and $50,000, will support the expansion of established SMEs by equipping selected businesses with the financing needed to implement solutions to sector-wide challenges.
“America is committed to cultivating small- and medium-sized businesses in Pakistan, creating jobs, fostering entrepreneurship and expanding the country’s economy. We are confident that the small seeds planted through this program will help transform ideas into profitable realities,” said David Hale, speaking on the occasion.
Anusha Rahman, appreciating the efforts by USAID to support economic growth initiatives in Pakistan thanked the U.S. Government for its continued support.
The eligibility for the Challenge fund is any legally registered local for-and not-for profit organization, individual entrepreneurs, and businesses.