Pakistani-born entrepreneur lands US State Department spot despite resistance

— Syed’s nomination had been blocked by conservative senators for nearly a year

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has announced that it has appointed Pakistani-American businessman Dilawar Syed to oversee international trade and business affairs.

Republican senators had blocked his nomination for deputy small business administrator for nearly a year.

The State Department said Syed would “lean on his experience working at the federal and state levels to advance trade and economic policies that benefit American workers and businesses.”

Syed immigrated to the United States as a college student to attend the College of Wooster in Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He’s been an entrepreneur for 20 years, building and leading companies in software, consumer, and now healthcare and artificial intelligence.

Syed was the president of Freshworks, where he helped scale the software company’s products to thousands of small and medium businesses.

Within the Obama administration, Syed played an active role in promoting the State Department’s global entrepreneurship agenda and connecting Silicon Valley innovators with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems.

As founding chair of the California Entrepreneurship Task Force, Special Representative Syed fostered inclusive entrepreneurship that has connected coastal regions to the rural heartland of the state and helped small businesses struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Serving in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, the Special Representative for Business and Commerce advances trade, commerce, and economic policies for working Americans and the middle class to help create well-paying jobs and strengthen our communities,” the ad reads.

“Special Representative Syed will lead efforts to support the export activities of American companies through approved trade advocacy and to create and advance a level playing field for American workers and businesses overseas. “