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You have been the driving force behind the landmark We-Fi (Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative) initiative. What are its key objectives and timelines, and how will it change the lives of women, especially in emerging markets?
The Trump administration is committed to women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, the reality is that women face numerous challenges to financing, owning, and growing a business. With this in mind, the United States, along with the World Bank Group and 14 donor countries, established the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which aims to leverage in excess of $1 billion in public and private financing for women entrepreneurs. We-Fi also aims to provide access to technology, networks and mentorship, and address the legal and regulatory obstacles to business ownership and development. We-Fi officially became operational last month and the governing committee is working with implementing partners on proposals, which they expect to select in February 2018. I very much look forward to learning about these projects and continuing to support women entrepreneurs, both domestically and abroad.
What kind of opportunities and investments do you expect GES 2017 to open for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an incredible initiative, taking on its eighth iteration and for the first time, has a central focus on women as reflected in the theme ‘Women First, Prosperity For All’. For the first time, over 50 per cent of this year’s participants will be women! The theme and incredible participants are inspiring, and reinforce the importance of supporting women entrepreneurs globally. At the Summit, entrepreneurs and investors will have opportunities for growth and innovation through a wide range of workshops, panels, master classes, and networking sessions. I aim for GES 2017 to be a global celebration that elevates the importance of empowering and investing in women entrepreneurs. When women do better, communities and countries thrive. GES hopes to inspire innovators, create new initiatives, and foster lasting partnerships.
You are the first daughter of any US president to work in the White House. How does it feel and what special attributes do you bring to your job?
It is a tremendous honor to be serving my father’s administration and the American people. In my role as adviser to the president, I have focused my work on women’s economic empowerment, workforce development, education and skills training, entrepreneurship and economic growth. I am still overcome with awe when I walk into the White House; a feeling that I doubt will ever go away.
You are visiting India at a time when the bilateral relationship is on an upswing. How do you view the future of this relationship?
During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the White House in June, the president noted that “the future of our partnership has never looked brighter.” As the world’s largest democracies and the largest and fastest growing major economies, there is much we can and should do together. We share common priorities, including promoting economic growth and reform, fighting terrorism, and expanding security cooperation. In September, I had the honour of meeting with foreign minister (Sushma) Swaraj in New York City during the UN General Assembly. I shared with her that I have long admired India’s history and culture, and my hope for continued progress, particularly as it relates to women. I look forward to continuing this conversation with Prime Minister Modi. I’m excited for my visit to Hyderabad for GES and hope to be back soon to see more of India.
In your view, what are the main challenges the world faces today, and how do you think the world should deal with them?
In my view, one of the main challenges globally is creating economic opportunities and generating economic prosperity for all of our citizens — in the United States, in India, and throughout the world. Just as President Trump is working hard on these issues for the American people, Prime Minister Modi is also focused on expanding economic opportunities for the people of India, particularly its women. Creating more opportunities and greater prosperity will help us address many of the other key issues we face related to peace and security. That is why I am currently focusing my efforts on tax reform, specifically relief for American working families and creating economic opportunities for all Americans. A stronger American economy will enable the United States to be a stronger world leader. Furthermore, no country can truly thrive without equal opportunity for half its population; empowering women is essential to ensuring a more prosperous, peaceful, and stable world.
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