Nairobi, 26 April 2010 – President Obama, together with the Department of State and the Department of Commerce, will host the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27. Entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries with sizable Muslim populations have accepted President Obama?s invitation to celebrate the risky, exhilarating life of entrepreneurship and share ideas about sparking new businesses in their communities.
The conference ? A New Beginning: The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship ? builds on President Obama?s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo June 4, 2009 in which he promised to host a summit on entrepreneurship ?to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.?
?We now seek a broader engagement? that involves greater exchanges in education, health, science and shared ideals, he said in Cairo.
The conference will highlight the role that entrepreneurs play in communities in creating jobs and improving societies. Results expected from the gathering are new programs, partnerships, relationships and networks, which will encourage starting new businesses and social projects.
In all, about 250 people of various religious backgrounds are expected to participate in the meeting. They will come from Africa; the Middle East; South, Central and Southeast Asia; and Muslim communities in other regions and countries, including the United States.
Two Somalis – Nasra Weheliye Malin and Ms. Alhan Mohamed Jama – will be among the Summit delegates. The four were selected based on their innovative ideas and ability to promote entrepreneurship, their commitment to community service, and gender, geographic and urban/rural diversity. The four look forward to meeting other delegates and participating in presentations aimed at advancing entrepreneurship through technology and innovation, access to capital, and mentoring and fostering youth entrepreneurship.
Brief biographies of the two Somali delegates are provided below:
Nasra Weheliye Malin
Finance Director, NationLink Telecom
Nasra Weheliye Malin, Finance Director of NationLink Telecom, is one of Somalia?s most successful businesswomen. Born to a family of entrepreneurs, Malin holds one of the top management positions in Somalia. She is well-respected across clan, region, and community – a unique achievement for a woman in Somalia?s conflict-ridden environment. Malin?s family owned many businesses, with significant multi-million dollar interests across sectors in Mogadishu before the civil war. During the civil war, Malin sought new and innovative ways to provide basic services to the war torn population. They were among the handful entrepreneurs operating in an extremely challenging environment to meet the basic needs of the population.
Malin is a Founder and Executive Director of Nationlink Telecom, one of the leading telecommunications operators in Somalia. This very high profile position has never before been filled by a Somali woman. NationLink Telecom was started in September 1997. The company provides telecommunication services to all regions of Somalia and is one of the leading service providers in the country. The company’s focus is in the core areas of mobile telephony, fixed lines, Internet and mobile satellite services. The overall objective of NationLink Telecom is to provide telecommunication services to all Somalis and by doing so, positively change their lives. The company employs over 1500 people, 183 of whom are women.
Malin was educated in Somalia and the U.S. She studied at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri where she received a BA in business administration and finance. Married to a medical doctor and a mother of four daughters, Malin carefully balances her time between family and business.
Alhan Mohamed Jama
Director, Ismail Import Partners
As the Director of Ismail Imports, Alhan Mohamed Jama has established an undeniable reputation for success in Somaliland. A seasoned entrepreneur and founding partner of Ismail Imports, Jama?s negotiation skills led to the successful partnership with Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company. This partnership allowed Ismail Imports to become one of the main players in the frankincense export industry in Somaliland. Ismail Imports produces frankincense which is exported to the international market at a fraction of the prior cost. As a partner at Ismail Imports, Jama negotiated various agreements and established a network of clients in Saudi Arabia, the leading importer of frankincense. She also established relationships with distilleries located in Burlington, Vermont. These successful business deals have earned her respect and a reputation in the region for being a savvy businesswoman.
Jama is also committed to socially responsibility and through her leadership and generosity, Dayax Primary School operates in one of the most neglected regions of Somaliland. Since the schools inception, Jama has been its primary benefactor. She understands the importance of education and has ensured that others have the same opportunity to pursue their dreams as she has. Jama is also a very active supporter of the Kulmiye political party whose aim is to usher a new era of peace, democracy, and prosperity into Somaliland. While she does not hold an official position in the party, Jama is a leader in the campaign for Kulmiye to come to power in the upcoming election. Jama earned a Bachelor?s Degree in Science from Thiele University in Greenville, Pennsylvania