US-based group helps female entrepreneurs

US-based group helps female entrepreneurs

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
US-based group helps female entrepreneurs With the aim of leveraging ideas and resources to mobilize action and dialogue between the United States and the Muslim world, a U.S. public-private partnership is running programs for female and youth entrepreneurs in Turkey and Arab Spring countries.

The Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), which heads the partnership programs, was founded before the Arab Spring by the initiative of U.S. President Barack Obama in the early days of his presidency, Toni Verstandig, PNB’s executive director told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The partnership was formed with a focus on a few principle areas, including education, exchange, addressing youth employment, women’s economic opportunities and science and technology, Verstandig said.

“It [PNB] was built by President Obama when he recognized that he wanted to have a greater outreach to large Muslim populations,” Verstandig said.

“The region has undergone a major transformation and will continue to go through a transformation. This makes our work and framework for dialogue more important,” she said.

Turkey has been the driving force behind the project, and more advanced in organizational structure - both internally and externally - and outreach in our projects, Verstandig said.

“For instance, Cisco has a program in which it touches on entrepreneurship training for disadvantaged women, which includes skills training and life skills training for women and for youth. Coca Cola has just announced a program partnering with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) on a women’s entrepreneurship program on the outline areas of Istanbul in which skills training, business development program are provided for women,” Verstandig added.

There are many other training, exchange and science and technology programs run in the other Muslim countries by the initiative of PNB, she said. The PNB is chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and co-chaired by the American writer Walter Isaacson and Muhtar Kent, the Turkish-origin CEO of the Coca Cola company.