WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Global Entrepreneurship Network is excited to announce the opening of Startup Huddle in Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan, to help local entrepreneurs hone their pitch skills and discover solutions to the challenges they face. 

Startup Huddle is a program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. As an experiential learning opportunity, the Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session and feedback via an audience survey. 

In Lahore, organizers Maria Naseer and Faizan Mahmood, from Innovation District 92, said they are both looking forward to introducing Startup Huddle to their community as a way to engage, educate and connect their entrepreneurs. 

“We hope to be able to bring mentors, trainers and fellow entrepreneurs onto the same platform that can help startups grow and gain clarity on their progress and direction,” said Naseer. “It is important for them to have a constructive discussion that not only benefits the startup in question but acts as a learning for all those who are attending. 

The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event. 

As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community.

Mansoor Mujtaba, with National Incubation Center, is the Startup Huddle organizer for Islamabad. Islamabad will hold their first Startup Huddle meetup on November 14, during Global Entrepreneurship Week. 

“The National Incubation Center is providing access to resources and expertise to young entrepreneurs,” Mujtaba said, “enabling them to reach their true potential, grow the local communities and bring the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Pakistan.”

Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.

“GEN Pakistan is excited to see Startup Huddle entering the Pakistan arena with Lahore and Islamabad taking the head start,” said Kashif Khan, the acting managing director of the Global Entrepreneurship Network country affiliate in Pakistan. “It’s great to see entrepreneurs have this experience with mentors that can help nurture these founders.” 

Yuval Yarden is Director of Startup Huddle at Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). She is also the host of the newly launched show, The Keystone… About the author