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White House 'Spark' for women and young entrepreneurs

May 08, 2015 08:47 IST

The event plans to bring together entrepreneurs to highlight the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs

A woman entrepreneurWhen city-based Rwitwika Bhattacharya saw an email from the White House, she initially dismissed it as spam.

“I was sitting and working on my computer when my inbox pinged me and I saw an invitation from the White House. My initial response was, “Oh, it’s spam!” I was close to disregarding the email.

“But my husband, sitting next to me, asked me to Google the people who sent it. Turned out, it was truly from the Office of the President. It was pretty exciting,” says the social entrepreneur who runs the Swaniti Initiative, a non-governmental organisation helping lawmakers improve their engagement with constituencies.

Bhattacharya, 28, will join about 200 women and young entrepreneurs from around the world at an event that is part of US President Barack Obama’s ‘Spark’ initiative on Monday, organised by the White House.

The event is aimed at raising about $1 billion for women and young entrepreneurs.

The programmes designated as part of the Spark initiative represent the best work being done by the US government to advance the cause of entrepreneurship around the world, according to the US government website, www.state.gov.

“The US aims to Spark + $1 billion for emerging entrepreneurs. The President will announce new ways we’ll get there. #StarttheSpark”@NSCpress, the Twitter handle of President Obama’s National Securities Council, said.

The #StarttheSpark hashtag has already generated considerable buzz on social media.

“It’s a global event, where 250 entrepreneurs from across the world will come and meet the President.

“I am not sure what the final tally was,” said Bhattacharya, a Harvard-educated entrepreneur who spent her formative years in the US.

The event plans to bring together entrepreneurs to highlight the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs and creating innovative solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges, including poverty, climate change, extremism and access to education and health care.

The event, coming ahead of the US president’s visit to this summer’s Global Entrepr-eneurship Summit in Kenya, provides a unique opportunity to galvanise global attention on emerging women and young entrepreneurs, according to communications received by participants.

Bhattacharya and Swaniti, who deliver development solutions to about 90 parliamentarians across states and party lines on the issues of health, education, gender and livelihood, see this as a ‘phenomenal opportunity’ to share how open and innovative the government sector is.

“As a firm that works closely with elected officials, we assume stagnation.

“But as a firm, we focus on innovation and we see government officials excited about what is offered. Our goal would be to convey this innovation, talent and potential in India’s government and governance,” Bhattacharya said.

The image is used for representational purpose only

N Sundaresha Subramanian in New Delhi
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