By Valentina Zarya
April 28, 2017

Ivanka Trump was not quite ready to go public with her investment fund—but the world found out about it anyway, thanks to Angela Merkel.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the first daughter is spearheading efforts to create an investment fund for female entrepreneurs. The news broke on a panel at the W20 Women’s Summit in Berlin, where the German chancellor and U.S. presidential advisor were joined by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and the Netherlands’ Queen Maxima. But according to Dina Powell, President Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy and senior counselor for economic initiatives, who was in attendance, the announcement was unplanned.

“Chancellor Merkel was so excited about it that she said, ‘And we will have a fund!” recounted Powell, speaking at a Thursday evening dinner in Washington, D.C. welcoming the 2017 class of the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.

The announcement was made before the White House or the World Bank—which will manage the fund—have ironed out many of the details, Powell said. “We’re still working it all out.” She also declined to say how large the fund will be other than to say it will have “significant amount of capital” and that it has already secured investments from Germany and Canada.

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Powell, who is the former head of Goldman Sachs’s Impact Investing team and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, said the idea for the fund came out of discussions among the newly-formed U.S.—Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs. The council’s participants include General Motors CEO Mary Barra, GE vice chair Beth Comstock, and Catalyst CEO Deborah Gillis.

“The number one issue that kept coming up [in discussions with the council] as the definitive barrier for female entrepreneurs globally was access to capital,” said Powell. “And so she and [World Bank president] Jim Kim have conspired to build a fund that will allow female entrepreneurs to access growth and working capital.”

 

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