Remarks at Memorandum of Understanding Signing with Entrepreneur in Residence Abrar Almasoud
Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs
Welcome everyone, particularly all of the visitors to the Department. I would especially like to welcome Kuwaiti Deputy Chief of Mission Nawaf AlEnezi.
Today, we are entering into a formal agreement with Abrar Almasoud, who will serve as the Global Entrepreneurship Program’s newest Entrepreneur in Residence, based in Kuwait. Abrar is an entrepreneur, consultant, and a television personality in Kuwait with the visibility and capacity to foster a more vibrant entrepreneurial community in Kuwait and the entire Gulf region.
I’d like to start by telling you a bit about the Global Entrepreneurship Program. At a speech at Cairo University in June 2009, President Obama pledged to “deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.” That call to action resulted in the establishment of GEP at the State Department within the Economic Bureau in 2010. The GEP has played a role in organizing five Global Entrepreneurship Summits, with the sixth to be held next month; we’ve led entrepreneurial delegations; forged partnerships with the private sector; identified American entrepreneurs to travel and inspire audiences overseas; and act as a resource for U.S. embassies that want to implement entrepreneurship programs, among other activities.
One of our most important GEP obligations is helping to build strong entrepreneurial communities throughout the world. GEP’s Entrepreneurs in Residence promote entrepreneurship in a meaningful way. We’ve partnered with USAID and the White House to establish these Entrepreneurs in Residence. Today we have Entrepreneurs in Residence or their equivalents in Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Abrar will be our first Entrepreneur in Residence who serves a whole region, supporting entrepreneurship throughout the Gulf. She is already an established entrepreneur in her own right. Her business, Future International Consultancy and Strategies, helps governments develop entrepreneurs and leaders through training and mentorship. She also produces and hosts a reality television show for entrepreneurs that is broadcast in countries throughout the Gulf region. Closer to home, in Kuwait, she mentors youth through the National Youth Project.
Abrar has already proven herself very valuable to GEP. At the fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2014, we had an entire day dedicated to women entrepreneurs and Abrar’s expertise contributed to its great success. She volunteered as the emcee for the business plan competition, and also judged the final round of business pitches.
We look forward to further collaborations with Abrar to help entrepreneurs in Kuwait, the Gulf, and around the world.