Ivanka Trump will represent the White House at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump with daughter, Ivanka Trump. Photo by: Bill Ingalls / NASA / CC BY-NC-ND

Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald J. Trump and special advisor at the White House, will lead the U.S. delegation at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, President Trump announced at the White House on Monday.

“To further our economic partnership, I’m excited to report that the prime minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this fall,” Trump said, while seated next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“I would like to tell you that I'm eager to welcome your daughter to India for the Entrepreneurship Summit,” Modi reiterated in his own remarks.

During Modi’s visit to the White House this time last year, he and then-U.S. President Barack Obama announced that India would be the host country for GES 2017. Launched by Obama in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit began as an initiative to deepen ties between Americans and Muslims around the world, then broadened to include entrepreneurs of all faiths and regions.

The status of this annual gathering of entrepreneurs from around the world, however, has faced uncertainty in the midst of the Trump transition.

Since GES 2016, members of the Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley have been actively engaged in discussions about GES 2017. But when Trump won the 2016 presidential election, they told Devex they were concerned that the new president would not want to support what remains an important part of Obama’s legacy.

“In today’s world, where our economies have undergone dramatic shifts, where businesses don’t stop at borders, where technology and automation have transformed virtually every industry and changed how people organize and work, entrepreneurship remains the engine of growth,” Obama said at GES 2016 at Stanford University in California.

The National Security Council played a key role in planning GES in the Obama White House, given the connections the former president saw between providing opportunity and countering extremism. It remains to be seen just how involved the White House will be beyond the participation of Ivanka Trump. Modi and Trump took no questions Wednesday, but questions remain, including confirmation on exactly when and where the summit will take place.

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Because Ivanka Trump has positioned herself as an advocate for businesswomen — for example, in proposing the World Bank’s $100 million Women Entrepreneurs Fund — it is likely that her participation will see a major focus on women entrepreneurship at GES 2017. That is welcome news for entrepreneurs such as Radha Basu, the founder of iMerit, a computing company headquartered in Kolkata, India, and Palo Alto, California. She told Devex at GES 2016 that one of the major opportunities for entrepreneurship in India is a large young workforce of “digital natives,” including young women with a huge desire to become wage earners in the digital economy.

She echoed the remarks of others Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors who have been waiting for confirmation from the White House that GES 2017 would happen in India has planned.

“India can teach the world about inclusive entrepreneurship, which is more sensitive to the economic needs of the many versus the desires of the few,” she said. “It can be laboratory of the world for inclusive growth in a vibrant digital economy.”

Stay tuned for more news from Devex about the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

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About the author

  • Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology, innovation, and philanthropy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported domestically and internationally for outlets including The Atlantic and the Washington Post. Catherine also works for the Solutions Journalism Network, a non profit that trains and connects reporters to cover responses to problems.