In her address at the eighth edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, White House Adviser and US President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump spoke about the friendship between India and the US, and the need to nurture and promote entrepreneurs.
In keeping with the theme, “Women First, Prosperity for All”, at this year’s Summit, Ivanka highlighted that a majority of the participants were women. She added that only when women were empowered will economies and societies around the world reach their full potential.
Excerpts from her speech:
“This is the first time India has hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. It is a symbol of the strengthened friendship between our two peoples, and the growing economic and security partnership between our two nations. As President Trump said earlier this year: India has a true friend in the White House.”
Rewriting the rules
“In this “City of Pearls” the greatest treasure is YOU – the dreamers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who never give up – never abandon your aspirations – and always strive for a better tomorrow.
“Today, we come together to celebrate what is happening here in India, what is happening in the United States – and all over the world: entrepreneurs are revolutionising our economies, and improving our societies.
“You are rewriting the rules. You have the inspiration and drive to serve our communities through the projects you start and the businesses you build.
“You have the grit – the perseverance – and the will to succeed. Each of you started with an idea. You’ve worked long days and nights to code the next robot, create the next app, find the next cure, and discover the next breakthrough to improve millions of lives.
“Some may have tried to convince you that the risk is too great – and the reward too small. But you are here today because you are not afraid to fail. You want to own your future. And I especially want to congratulate the women entrepreneurs here today.”
“This year’s Summit is focused on a theme that is key to our future: ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’. I am proud that for the first time ever, women make up the majority of the 1500 entrepreneurs selected to attend.
“Only when women are empowered to thrive; will our families, our economies, and our societies reach their fullest potential.
As a former entrepreneur, employer, and executive in a male-dominated industry, I have seen first-hand that all too often, women must do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves at work, while also disproportionately caring for their families at home.
“In the last decade, women have made remarkable strides in starting new businesses. Globally, between 2014 and 2016, entrepreneurship activity among women increased by 10 percent.
“In the United States, within the last decade, the number of women-owned firms has grown by 45 percent. Even more promising, minority women have started nearly 8 in 10 new women-owned businesses.
“Today, more than 11 million women in the United States own businesses. They employ nearly nine million workers and generate over $1 trillion dollars in revenue.
“Many women become entrepreneurs and job creators out of necessity – some weren’t given the flexibility they needed at work to care for their families. Others lacked professional sponsors, or they weren’t given a fair shot at a promotion.
“Instead, women, just like many of those here today, are charting their own courses and achieving incredible feats.
Fueling the growth of women-led businesses isn’t simply good for our society – it’s good for our economy. One study estimates that closing the gender entrepreneurship gap worldwide could grow our global GDP by as much as two percent.
“The women in this room can help lead the way to closing this gap and ushering in a new age of greater prosperity.”
What women want
“We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors, and access to equitable laws.
“In developing countries, 70 percent of women-owned small and medium-sized businesses are denied access to capital. The result has been a nearly $300 billion annual credit deficit for women entrepreneurs in the developing world.
“And when it comes to equitable laws, while many developed and developing countries have made tremendous strides, there is still much work to be done.
“In some countries, women are not allowed to own property, travel freely, or work without the consent of their husbands. In even more countries, the cultural and family pressure is so great that women do not feel the freedom to work outside the home.
“Our Administration is striving to promote greater opportunity for women around the world, both through our domestic reforms and our international initiatives.
“This summer, at the G20 conference, the United States was a founding member of a bold, new initiative with the World Bank – the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or WeFi. This facility provides access to capital, networks, and mentorship for women in developing countries.
Meeting to learn
“As we kick off this three-day Summit, I encourage everyone here today to come together, to learn from each other, and to find new ways to lift the barriers in our societies so that women are free to innovate, empowered to succeed, and able to leave our children a brighter future.
“As we strive for change, we must never forget that the best hope for our future is far greater than any single government policy – the source of our success is found in the spirit, the drive, and the talent of our people.