Ivanka Trump visits center for minority-owned businesses

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, and her daughter Arabella Kushner walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Trump attended the court session at the encouragement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who extended her an invitation when they met at the inauguration lunch. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, and her daughter Arabella Kushner walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Trump attended the court session at the encouragement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who extended her an invitation when they met at the inauguration lunch. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump expanded her research on economic policy Wednesday with a visit to a program for business owners in Baltimore.

The first daughter visited the Raymond V. Haysbert Center for Entrepreneurship at the Greater Baltimore Urban League, where she participated in a roundtable discussion with minority business owners, mostly from the Baltimore area.

National Urban League President Marc Morial invited Trump, who has stressed her interest in working on policies to benefit women in business. He said he wanted to show her "a highly successful program that is supported by the federal government that makes a difference in the success of small entrepreneurs."

"I feel like Ivanka listened very intently and asked some very intelligent questions," Morial said, noting that she wanted to understand which programs worked and could be implemented on a larger scale.

During the roundtable, the business owners shared stories about the challenges they had overcome to achieve their business goals — two said they had previously been homeless — and discussed the public and private programs that helped them achieve, according to a White House official who requested anonymity to provide details of the event.

Morial said there are about a dozen National Urban League entrepreneurship centers operated by local affiliates around the country. Collectively they serve about 10,000 people a year and are supported by public and private funding.

Also participating in the roundtable were Linda McMahon, who heads the Small Business Administration, and Dina Powell, an assistant to the president and senior counselor for economic initiatives.

Morial, who has been critical of President Donald Trump, said he was happy to reach out to Ivanka Trump over a shared interest in economic development.

"We will oppose those things that we are duty bound to oppose, but we will keep our doors open to look for areas of commonality," he said. "I call it an intelligent approach."

Trump stepped away from leadership roles at the family business and her own lifestyle brand to move her family to Washington. For now, her husband, Jared Kushner, is the only one with an official White House position, but she has been an increasingly visible presence in recent weeks, appearing at meetings and press conferences.

Her most high profile outing to date was a meeting on women's economic issues that came as part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to the White House. Trudeau's office proposed the joint effort focused on empowering women in the workforce, and the meeting was put together by aides in both countries with input from Ivanka Trump. Female executives from both countries attended, as did the president and Trudeau.

Trump's visit to Baltimore came after she took her daughter to visit the Supreme Court on Wednesday. In a post on Instagram, she wrote: "Arabella and I visited the Supreme Court this morning and attended a hearing. I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach her about the judicial system in our country firsthand."

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