The ecosystem of entrepreneurship is evolving, said Farah Pandith in her keynote at today’s Women of the Future Summit. We are finally seeing more interest in how to invest in a person with an idea, regardless of the entrepreneur’s gender or heritage, she said.Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the US Department of State, encouraged the support of innovators who think differently. “The ecosystem of entrepreneurship means that the government has to be able to connect people who have different ideas, acting as an intellectual partner and facilitator,”she said. “The more we can do to build platforms that move entrepreneurs forward, the better. It’s not the government that solves problems; it’s people.” Pandith said that having the privilege to serve different communities has taught her that different perspectives help to to solve problems and enables to “think outside the box”. Pandith is an American Muslim born in India. Prior to her current appointment, she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. Now reporting to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Pandith pointed to the recently launched Women in Public Service initiative, saying that public service was, in her view, “the next frontier”. Telling a story of being in a White House meeting to decide on a crucial policy, looking around herself and realising that she was the only woman in the room, Pandith made a passionate case for the importance of bringing more women into public service. “Secretary Clinton has woven in the issue of girls and women into everything we’ve done, it’s embedded into everything,” she said. “We understand the importance of investing in women – the impact that women have had, in bringing up the next generation, on the way we think about our future.” As Special Representative to Muslim Communities, she highlighted the importance of connecting different cultures to drive innovation across the globe. “President Obama was very brave and innovative when he put the engagement of the Muslim community on the table. It’s very important to do more to build relationships (…).The only way we can solve problems together is to enable communication.” The Women of the Future Summit was presented by Real Business and Pinky Lilani OBE and sponsored by Credit Suisse, Yum! Restaurants, Argonon and Said Business School.
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