The U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with The Innovators Fund, a new Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund that will launch in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Malaysia.
The Innovators Fund was announced as part of the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, an event held earlier this week in Washington D.C. The event was designed to promote entrepreneurship in Africa, the Middle East, and South, Central and Southeast Asia as a tool for economic development. It was a response in part to President Obama's June 2009 Cairo speech, where he expressed a commitment to deepen ties between the U.S. and Muslim countries.
The State Department will work with the Innovators Fund on an ongoing basis to help facilitate partnerships with local business schools, companies, and NGOs to support entrepreneurship and economic opportunity.
The Innovators Fund has already established collaboration partnerships with Polaris Venture Partners and Dogpatch Labs, TomorrowVentures, Craig Newmark, Oasis 500 and TechStars, and it plans to add others.
Working in collaboration with these other funds and investors, the fund will provide angel and seed financing to promising young entrepreneurs. It will emphasize mentorship and will provide online mentoring as well as send leading Silicon Valley executives to the countries in which it operates.
The State Department and IF hope that this program will serve to identify and expand the economic and social climates that are conducive to entrepreneurship.