Ivanka Trump, feted in India, calls for closing gender
gap in business
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[November 28, 2017]
By Aditi Shah
HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump kicked off a global business summit
in southern India on Tuesday calling for better opportunities for women
entrepreneurs battling heavy odds around the world.
Ivanka, also an informal adviser to her father, received a warm welcome
in India's high-tech hub of Hyderabad with all the trappings of a state
Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined her in the opening of the
U.S.-backed Global Entrepreneurship Summit which New Delhi is hoping
will further boost political and economic ties with the United States
under the Trump administration.
Ivanka, wearing a bright green floral dress, said fuelling the growth of
women-led businesses and closing the gender entrepreneurship gap could
help expand global GDP by 2 percent.
"Women still face steep obstacles to starting, owning and growing their
businesses. We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital,
access to networks and mentors," Ivanka said to loud cheers from a
packed audience in a heavily-guarded conference center.
In developing countries, 70 percent of women-owned smaller businesses
were being denied access to capital, she said, leading to a near $300
billion annual credit deficit for them.
GES is an event conceived by former U.S. President Barack Obama. It has
previously been held in countries such as the United States and Turkey,
but this year's edition is the first under the Trump administration.
The theme of the conference this year is "Women First, Prosperity for
All". More than half the participants at the summit are women, and
all-female delegations are representing countries such as Afghanistan,
Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Ivanka, who ran an eponymous clothing and jewelry business before
becoming an adviser in the White House, has made women's issues one of
her main policy areas.
She cited a Harvard Business Review report that found that in the United
States investors ask men questions about their potential for gains,
whereas they ask women questions about their potential for loss.
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Ivanka Trump speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)
in Hyderabad, India. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Billboards with pictures of Ivanka dotted many parts of Hyderabad which is also
home to major U.S. firms such as Microsoft <MSFT.O>. In recent days, authorities
took beggars off city streets in a clean-up drive before the meeting, media
More than 10,000 police officials were deployed in the city and sniffer dogs as
well as "spotters", or men trained to detect any suspicious activity or people,
were on stand by, a police officer said.
On the sidelines, Ivanka held talks with Modi, as well as Indian foreign
minister Sushma Swaraj. Later she toured the conference center with Modi and met
a few entrepreneurs, before watching traditional Indian dance performances in
the inaugural session.
"This event not only connects the Silicon Valley with Hyderabad but also
show-cases the close ties between the United States of America and India. It
underlines our shared commitment toward encouraging entrepreneurship and
innovation," Modi said.
India has become a major market for the United States, with two-way trade of
about $115 billion last year. They aim to raise that to $500 billion by 2022.
Military and strategic ties are also improving as China's influence rises in
Asia and beyond.
"The Trump administration sees India as a strategic partner and wants to engage
with India more. When you look at sending of Ivanka Trump, it is sending a very
strong signal," said Mukesh Aghi, president of the US-India Strategic
(Writing by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Clarence Fernandez,
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