Ivanka Trump’s speech had it all, almost.
From mentioning prime minister Narendra Modi’s childhood selling tea to talking about Hyderabad’s fine cuisine and tech acumen in the same sentence, the senior advisor to the US president made sure she played to the gallery at the inauguration of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) today (Nov. 28).
The audience lapped it up, applauding to carefully crafted lines that included:
- …this ancient city brimming with transformative technology—now, your tech centres may even outshine your world-famous biryani
- CEOs like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella went to school right here in Hyderabad
- In this “City of Pearls” the greatest treasure is you—the dreamers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who never give up…
But it wasn’t all original. A few sections of Trump’s speech in Hyderabad sounded a lot like the one she delivered in Tokyo, Japan, earlier this month.
Hyderabad: After my father’s election, I saw an opportunity to leave my businesses for the privilege of serving our country and empowering all Americans—including women—to succeed. Our administration is advancing policies that enable women to pursue their careers and care for their families, policies that improve workforce development and skills training, and policies that lift government barriers and fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their dreams into their incredible legacies.
Tokyo: That is why after my father’s election, I decided to leave my businesses and work in government to advance policies and initiatives that empower women to fully participate in the economy, if they so choose. Policies that enable women to pursue their careers and care for their families, policies that focus on workforce development and skills training, and policies that fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their aspirations into their incredible legacy.
Hyderabad: When women work, it creates a unique multiplier effect. Women are more likely than men to hire other women, and to give them access to capital, mentorship and networks. Women are also more likely to reinvest their income back in their families and communities.
Tokyo: When women work, it creates a unique multiplier effect. Women are more likely than men to hire other women, to give them access to capital, mentorship and networks. Women have been shown to reinvest 90 percent of their income in their homes and communities…
Hyderabad: 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.
Tokyo: That is why this summer, at the G20 conference, the United States and Japan were founding members of a bold, new initiative with the World Bank – the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative. This facility is the first of its kind to empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries. It will provide access to the capital, networks, and mentorship needed…
Nonetheless, for anyone hoping that Trump’s debut in India would go beyond merely admiring Indian women or spelling out opportunities before them, the much-anticipated speech was a bit of a damp squib. Aside from reiterating president Trump’s comment from earlier this year that “India has a true friend in the White House,” she made no mention of any financial, technological, or mentorship cooperation that Indian entrepreneurs would receive from the US.
Back in August, when registrations to attend the event were opened, over 44,000 applications reportedly came in for the 400 seats that were available for entrepreneurs to attend. Some were hoping to get a clearer picture of where the Trump administration stands with respect to the Indian startup ecosystem. “… when she speaks as the head of the US delegation, in a way she would be communicating what is the official position of the US government about entrepreneurship, about start-ups,” Jayesh Ranjan, a government official in Hyderabad organising the event, had told Reuters.
Instead, she listed out the US government’s initiatives for women both at home and in countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan and publicly acknowledged the innovative contributions of young women in the audience. Then, she simply signed off, asking the 1,500 entrepreneurs in the room to “just think how much better our world will be if all of us, men and women, are empowered to dream big, aim high, and work together towards a more just and prosperous future.”