Entrepreneurs outnumber slots at Ivanka’s summit

A US-backed entrepreneurship conference that president Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, is attending in India this month has been flooded with applications amid deepening ties between India and the United States.

Thousands of Indian entrepreneurs want to attend the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), to be held in Hyderabad from November 28, though organisers say they can accommodate only 400 from India and 800 from the US and the rest of the world.

“Definitely, the response was much, much more than the 400. India has become a very important startup destination,” said Jayesh Ranjan, a government official in Hyderabad, who is helping organise the event.
“Also, 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 startups,” he said of Ivanka Trump.

Ranjan could not confirm a report in a national daily that said about 44,000 Indian entrepreneurs had applied for the 400 slots, though he said it was in the thousands. The application deadline was October 7.

Former US president Barack Obama conceived the GES. It was previously held in Washington, Istanbul, Dubai, Marrakech in Morocco, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Silicon Valley in the US.

This will be the first such summit under Trump, who this year said on Twitter that his daughter would lead the US delegation to support women’s entrepreneurship globally.

The theme of the conference this year is “Women First, Prosperity for All.”

On a visit to New Delhi last month, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said the conference was an example of how Trump and prime minister Narendra Modi were “promoting innovation, expanding job opportunities and finding new ways to strengthen both of our economies.”

India is already a major market for the US, with bilateral trade at about $115 billion last year. They aim to raise that to $500 billion by 2022.

Military and strategic ties are also improving amid rising Chinese influence in Asia and beyond.

More than 1,500 people are expected at GES Hyderabad, including entrepreneurs, 300 investors, government officials and others, Ranjan said.

Modi, who will inaugurate the conference, told Trump in a meeting in the Philippines on Monday that he looked forward to hosting the US delegation in Hyderabad.