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U.S. promotes Muslim entrepreneurship

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: President Obama and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang will tag-team on the podium today in Washington at the president's "Summit on Entrepreneurship," focused on promoting economic ties with Muslim nations. From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Last year during his trip to Cairo, President Obama called for better ties with the Muslim world. Today's gathering of entrepreneurs and economic development types from more than 50 countries is the follow up.

Thom Ruhe of the Kauffman Foundation helped organize the event:

Thom Ruhe: There are entrepreneurs thriving in those parts of the world. But they certainly are the micro-micro-minority, considered by their governments kind of fringe players, fringe elements.

To help these fledgling businesses grow, the U.S. will offer money, mentoring and technical support. The obstacles are huge, from bureaucracy to restrictions on women in business. Still, Thom Ruhe says there's opportunity for U.S. firms:

Rue: I had the chance to meet the entrepreneur that launched Muxlim.com. Think of them as the Facebook equivalent for the Muslim world. And they in fact are coalescing tremendous purchasing power and opportunity for advertisers.

There's a lot of potential here; not one Muslim country makes the list of top U.S. trading partners right now.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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