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Tory Burch Joins President’s Entrepreneur Group

Group seeks to increase small business in U.S. and around the world.

Tory Burch is adding business ambassador to her résumé.

This story first appeared in the April 8, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Burch has joined the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, or PAGE, an initiative to promote and champion entrepreneurship and charged with increasing the number of successful small businesses in the U.S. and around the world.

PAGE’s first meeting took place Monday in Washington and was chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Burch, designer and the founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, said, “In an increasingly global society, entrepreneurship is a key to creating jobs and strengthening the world economy. PAGE is also a great platform from which to build on our foundation’s continuing effort to support the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs and their families.”

PAGE provides a platform for successful entrepreneurs to inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs. Plans for the group were first announced at the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia.

At a press stakeout held in the pouring rain on the West Wing lawn of the White House after the committee’s inaugural meeting, Pritzker said the company executives are donating their time and sharing their stories, but are not making financial commitments to the initiative. She was joined by several of the executives, including Burch, who huddled under an umbrella and did not give remarks.

“At this time, this is not about financial commitments,” Pritzker said, responding to a reporter’s question. “This is about a commitment of time and ideas and sharing of their stories and their processes and their wisdom. [It’s] about how one goes from an idea to a company and also [offering] their advice, frankly not just for other entrepreneurs but also for other governments.”

Rich Barton, cofounder and executive chairman of real estate Internet company Zillow, as well as founder of online travel company Expedia Inc., said the new initiative will “help export American-style start-up capitalism to the rest of the world.

“It turns out there will be three billion people over the next 30 years that enter the middle class around the world and they need jobs,” Barton said. “They are looking to us an example of what it’s like to create a healthy start-up economy. It also turns out freedom and self-actualization and self-determination go hand in hand with the creation of an entrepreneurial, start-up community. So it’s exciting to me that we can increase freedom in the world and empowerment through the work we do here.”