The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced to invest $2.5 million in ‘Sarmayacar’ to bolster entrepreneurship and accelerate economic growth.
“The early stage of local venture capital ecosystems is often the most crucial building block for sustaining healthy entrepreneurship and innovation, which helps to drive economic growth and create quality jobs,” says Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Therefore, IFC will offer support to these entrepreneurs by addressing issues like insufficient seed capital and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country.
Based in the Netherlands, Sarmayacar is a venture capital firm for tech startups. According to the press release by IFC, $2 million of the total amount comprises equity commitments from Startup Catalyst, the IFC’s global program that supports accelerators and seed funds in emerging markets.
The remaining $500,000 has come from the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi). We-Fi supports women entrepreneurs in developing countries by capacity building, enabling access to financial products and services, and offering links with domestic and global markets.
“Pakistan offers a unique opportunity with its improving stability, large, young population, rising middle class, fast-growing internet and smartphone penetration, and a dearth of venture capital in the ecosystem,” says Rabeel Waraich, Sarmayacar’s founder.
“This marks the first such investment from the World Bank Group in Pakistan and will enable us to back more startups in the country, while also providing access to a global network, new markets and domain expertise to our portfolio companies,” said Waraich.