US to host Muslim entrepreneurship meet

US to host Muslim entrepreneurship meet

As many as 275 of the most pioneering business and social entrepreneurs from the Muslim communities, ranging in ages from 20 to 70 and representing more than 55 countries and five continents around the world, have been invited to the two-day meet that would be addressed by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

About half a dozen participants, in the summit beginning on Monday, are from India. The summit is one of the many ways to show that the US is delivering on the principles and commitments made in President Barack Obama's speech last year at Cairo to engage people in Muslim communities around the world.

"One of the commitments the President made was on entrepreneurship. We believe entrepreneurship is a fundamental American value, and it's also a force that has the ability to unlock opportunity for people around the world. And some of my colleagues can speak in greater specificity to that," said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

"The US government is using the convening power of the President and the United States to bring together a very dynamic and diverse group of entrepreneurs from over 50 countries here. We're going to put some commitment of the US government behind this effort," he said. Rhodes said many of the regions that will be highly represented at the summit -- Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia -- have extraordinary youth population, and it will, become increasingly important to be able to channel the promise of those youths towards entrepreneurship in a way that can create economic opportunities.

Francisco Sanchez, Undersecretary for International Trade, said it is particularly important for the US to forge strong trade and commercial ties with Muslim countries. "In in fact, we already do have strong ties. In 2008, total trade between the US and Muslim-majority countries exceeded USD 360 billion," he said. Sanchez exuded confidence that the US can build on that, and from this summit it can create partnerships that are going to be mutually beneficial and can support job creation and economic opportunity, both in the United States and overseas.

"In an era when the American economy is tied to the global economy and when trade relationships and exports abroad help create jobs at home, it is very much in America's economic interest to develop stronger, closer links between entrepreneurs both here in the US and abroad."

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