Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation holds first Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit

I am in Japan today, where we have just concluded the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit.

Government officials, business leaders, academics and journalists from the 21 APEC member economies met in Gifu, Japan on October 1, 2010 to discuss the critical importance of women entrepreneurs to the growth and prosperity of our economies and to share policies, strategies and best-practices to promote women entrepreneurship.

The summit was hosted by the governments of Japan and the United States, who are the chairs of APEC in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer led the United States' effort here, which also included representatives from the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the United States Trade Representative, and myself representing the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ambassador John Roos, our United States ambassador to Japan, was an active participant, giving the summit special insight into the importance of innovation and entrepreneurial development based his prior experience in Silicon Valley.

The attendees were thrilled to hear about the work the United States is doing to promote small business, including the most recent expansion of support contained in the Small Business Jobs Act signed into law by the President last week. The announcement that we would be holding a White House conference on women entrepreneurship next week was cheered. But the most inspiring voices of the day were those of the women entrepreneurs who spoke of the challenges, courage, and ultimate success they have experienced in dreaming of and then building their new business -- from ancient Chinese herbal remedies to mobile phone apps to the largest business journal in Singapore. These women are the face of our global future and we look forward to working together to help women entrepreneurs grow and succeed!

Please visit the APEC Women's Entrepreneurship Summit Website at  http://www.women.apec.org/ for more information on the Summit.

Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls

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