• Abby Fowler

Improving the Regulatory Environment for Tech and Start-Up Investment: A Project for Pakistan

Originally published August 11, 2022


From July 28th to August 2nd, we hosted a delegation from Pakistan for a project titled “Improving the Regulatory Environment for Tech and Start-Up Investment.” Through exposure to U.S. government officials, markets, and business, this project aimed to teach this delegation how to craft and implement laws that promote investment, how to advocate for improvements in the investment and business climate, and to build alliances between American and Pakistani start-up and tech leaders.


The day after their arrival, the group met virtually with Curt Nelson, President and CEO of the Entrepreneurial Development Center (EDC). After lunch, they left for Cedar Rapids for a meeting with Jamie Toledo, Economic Development Relationship Manager for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.


“We are happy to help and 2020 has expedited the importance of international connections,” said Jamie.

At Pizza on the Farm.

In the evening, as both a cultural activity and community meet-and-greet, the group visited Pizza on the Farm in Wellman, Iowa. There, they met the farm owners and enjoyed live music and freshly wood fired pizza. This activity was “amazing and unforgettable,” according to a participant.


On their second full day, the delegation had no scheduled appointments and activities. They explored Iowa City on their own and had the opportunity to enjoy many local events including the South District Diversity Market, Free Northside Concert Series, or the Summer of the Arts Free Movie Series.


After an open morning the next day, the group convened in the afternoon for a cultural excursion to the Amana Colonies where they enjoyed a guided tour.


On their final full day in Iowa, the group had a panel discussion with Iowa City Area Business Partnership (ICABP) and Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group representatives. Panelists included Mary Willie and Kim Casko of ICABP and Liz Hubing, Dr. Mark Butland, and Austin Korns of ICAD. After lunch downtown, the group went to the Iowa City Public Library to meet with Michal Eynon-Lynch, founder of K-12 educational technology company Pear Deck.


“We have been in 3 states so far, and our best experience is in Iowa City,” said participant Rana Waqas. “Meetings were well arranged and all the panelists were keen to listen and share their thoughts.”


“It was overall an excellent experience. One of the best in the entire project,” seconded another participant.


“My experience in Iowa City was the best in terms of community engagement. The people showed amazing hospitality and we felt like a part of the community,” said participant Sitana Gill.


Thank you to Curt Nelson of the EDC, Jamie Toledo of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Pizza on the Farm, Mary Willie and Kim Casko of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Liz Hubing, Dr. Mark Butland, and Austin Korns of the Iowa City Area Development Group, and Michal Eynon-Lynch for your participation in this program. We would also like to thank our volunteers Liz and Alan Bergeron, Amy Alice Chastain, Jeanne Stoakes, and John Achrazoglou for making this delegation’s time in Eastern Iowa special!


Keep an eye on our blog and social media to get involved in future delegations!


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