May 30, 2013

Taleen Ananian, 202.778.4993

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

Competition featuring Indian and Pakistani entrepreneurs to air on GEO TV Pakistan 

LONDON – On June 3 the Atlantic Council will launch a new cross-border business plan competition, Startup Dosti, which will connect entrepreneurs from India, Pakistan, and the Diaspora community and facilitate cross-border investment and collaboration. The launch event at the UK Parliament will feature remarks by Andrew Stephenson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan, and others. 

Startup Dosti 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. Total trade between the two countries has increased from $750 million to more than $2.5 billion since 2005. Experts believe a $50 billion trade market could exist, should barriers and restrictions continue to fall

Entrepreneurs from India and Pakistan can download an application for the competition beginning August 15, 2013 at

To schedule an interview with partners or to attend the Startup Dosti launch event in London on June 3, please contact Taleen Ananian at  


The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting today’s global challenges.  

The Council’s Young Atlanticist Program is dedicated to engaging and connecting the next generation of leaders in the Atlantic Community, and beyond, with unique professional opportunities and a platform for open dialogue. The Council’s Young Atlanticists have met with key global leaders including US President Barak Obama, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and many others.