May 30, 2017 

APF Chair, Riaz Siddiqi Mentors Start-ups at
CIRCLE Women & Business Karachi Chapter Launch

Riaz Siddiqi with Women Entrepreneurs

CIRCLE, in partnership with NEST I/O and the U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council, launched the CIRCLE Women & Business Karachi chapter. Entrepreneurs and innovators were invited to share their startup journeys, learn from each other's successes and challenges, and build a network of allies dedicated to collective growth.  Riaz Siddiqi, a Founder and Managing Partner of Denham Capital and Chair of the American Pakistan Foundation, engaged the audience with his own entrepreneurial journey and provided mentorship to several start-ups.

Watch Riaz Siddiqi's Talk

CIRCLE Pakistan, founded by Sadaffe Abid, the former COO and CEO of Kashf Foundation, works towards women's economic empowerment and employment through innovative entrepreneurship and leadership labs, advocacy campaigns, and research. CIRCLE is based on the belief that investing in women is the smartest economic venture of today--when women progress, communities prosper and economies grow.
CIRCLE Women & Business Network has chapters in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. It provides a platform for female innovators, business owners, and professionals. It also encourages allies to partake in development ventures. Networks provide workshops, dialogue, and toolkits, as well as opportunities to collaborate on projects.
At the launch, entrepreneurs received valuable tips on establishing successful enterprises. Speakers highlighted the characteristics of a great entrepreneur and spoke on the importance of building a self motivated and passionate team. Attendees were given tips on how to attract investors, deal with organizational change, and build advisory boards. Individuals were also given the opportunity to ask direct, specific advice for challenges related to their respective businesses.
The room was abuzz with over sixty people who created an atmosphere of positive energy.  Siddiqi shared his pleasure at attending, saying, "There is no other place I would rather be than here. I have committed to the cause of the sustainability of humanity to leave a better world for my granddaughter."

" Women are the largest untapped potential of Pakistan. Through empowering women entrepreneurs, we can create jobs and solve Pakistan's social and economic challenges. CIRCLE is creating such a platform and we are delighted to work with our partners across the country ," said Sadaffe Abid.

There will be a series of initiatives from CIRCLE to support women-led startups this year. One such initiative is "She Loves Tech Pakistan" - a Global Startup Competition for tech based startups founded by both men and women.  It will take place in at least 8 locations across the world, with finals in Beijing.  This is an exciting opportunity for a winning startup from Pakistan to attend a one-week boot-camp and conference in China, where competitors will be able to pitch to investors, network and more. 

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