Trump announces $50 million commitment to Ivanka-led initiative for women entrepreneurs

Trump announces $50 million commitment to Ivanka-led initiative for women entrepreneurs

President Trump on Saturday committed the U.S. to contributing $50 million to the new World Bank Group Facility for Women Entrepreneurship, one of First Daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul Cohen says Trump attorney told him to say Trump Tower talks ended earlier than they did Cohen told lawmakers that Trump lawyer Sekulow instructed him to lie about Moscow tower project: report MORE’s causes.

“The critical investments we're announcing today will help advance the economic empowerment of women around the world,” Trump said at a meeting of world leaders on Saturday. “Empowering women is a core value that binds us together.”

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The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi) - launched Saturday from the G20 Summit in Hamburg with the support of world leaders there – will provide loans, mentoring and access to the financial markets for women-led start-ups, particularly in developing countries.

Ivanka Trump, who White House and World Bank officials credited with the idea, will act as an advocate and mentor for the program, but will not be involved in fundraising, officials said.

Trump said the potential of women entrepreneurs is “unlimited,” and praised his daughter Ivanka as a “forceful advocate for landmark women entrepreneurs.”

"I'm very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one, I have to tell you that,” Trump said.

"If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her,” he joked. “It might be the only bad thing going for her."

The president said more women in the work force means more jobs for “millions and millions of people” and “more competition” in the business world “for people like me prior to government.”

“The world economy will grow and millions of people will be lifted out of poverty,” he continued.

The fund will look to boost women investors by opening up business networking channels, providing small loans, new access to financial markets, online mentoring, technology training and assistance in overcoming legal obstacles, particularly in developing nations, where property ownership laws and other bureaucratic obstacles can present barriers to women looking to start their own businesses.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the project for moving “quickly.”

“If everything went so quickly by the World Bank as the creation of such a fund, we'd have more success on the international stage,” she said.

The U.S. and Germany are founding members of the fund, which will launch with $315 million in pledged donations. Officials said that figure over-shot the original fundraising goal by $100 million.

“I am happy that this initiative for women presents real added value,” Merkel said. “I want to sincerely thank everyone who worked on it, especially the president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and Ivanka Trump and others. We can see from the example of this Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative that the G20 is not just a two-day Summit, but that the G20 is a process.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the fund as an “important investment” that will “help women in developing countries to create jobs, build economies that work for everyone, and have a real and fair chance at success.”

Trudeau also announced a 20 million dollar contribution to the project.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said that women’s participation in the financial markets is one of the pillars of “Abenomics.”

“Women’s empowerment and leadership will diversify and revitalize organization and societies,” Abe said. “This facility embodies such belief in developing countries, and is promising initiative to achieve society where women shine.”

The WeFi hopes to extend its first line of credit to a female investor by the end of the year. Loans will range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands.

“If you’re a large bank and need a couple billion, you can get it,” a World Bank official said. “If you’re a woman in developing country and need $5,000, it’s almost impossible.”

The initiative will also work with governments to improve laws and regulations it believes stifles the efforts of women looking to start or run their own businesses.

- This report was updated at 8:38 a.m.