Report: The Next Billion: Women & The Economy of the Future Conference Identifies Critical Role of Women to Business Profitability and Growth

Jan 19, 2016, 12:03 ET from The Next Billion: Women & The Economy of the Future

Inaugural conference featuring world-renowned economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini finds practical ways women can contribute to companies' viability now and in the future

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- While many discussions of issues facing women and girls focus on the social and health benefits of greater inclusiveness, relatively little time has been dedicated to the question of the critical role women play in business profitability and in driving long-term economic growth. To address this issue, "The Next Billion: Women & The Economy of the Future" served as a forum for senior-level corporate leaders to discuss concrete, practical ways in which women – as consumers, employees, entrepreneurs and executives – are vital to the continuing success of companies in today's competitive international economy.

Today, a report of the findings from the conference was made available. Key highlights include:

  • Partnerships are key to accelerate collaboration as an ecosystem. Particularly, collaboration between government and the private sector is key, and they are essential to mainstream women into politics and corporate leadership. Partnerships create and support the ecosystem that provides the bundled sets of high-value financial and non-financial products women need, and allow organizations to call on investors in unique ways.
  • Communicating the business case and impact of investing in women-owned businesses is critical. Women-owned entities account for 30% of businesses worldwide, yet according to the IFC only about 10% have access to the capital they need to grow their businesses. Currently, 30% of SMEs in the U.S. are run by women, as opposed to only 5% in the 1970's, while in Canada women own 1/3 of all businesses and account for $117 billion annually in economic activity.
  • Governments need to create a platform for market-based incentives. Government policies, such as tax breaks for training women for jobs normally performed by men, can create a significant positive impact on women's participation in the workforce.

The conference was the result of noted business owner and philanthropist Lisa Wolverton recognizing a unique need in the global economy. "We created a platform for C-level leaders to engage in candid discussions about the influence women can have on the business bottom-line. This is something that is rarely discussed. Executives shared valuable insights, ideas, tools and what has worked and what hasn't. We were thrilled with the results; the report features actionable ideas that will have significant positive impact for years to come."

The Next Billion partners include BSR: Business for Social Responsibility, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and its Multilateral Investment Fund, The United Nations Foundation and the World Bank Group/International Finance Corporation.

The Next Billion advisory board members include:

  • Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues;
  • Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former UK government Minister and United Nations Deputy Secretary General and Current Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa, FTI Consulting;
  • Maria Livanos Cattaui, former Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce;
  • Laura Gitman, Vice President New York, BSR;
  • Frank Giustra, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fiore Financial.

To view videos from the conference, visit

To request a copy of the full report, visit

About The Next Billion: Women & The Economy of the Future
The Next Billion: Women & The Economy of the Future conference brought together key corporate decision-makers from North America, Europe and Latin America for a results-oriented, evidence-based dialogue on the topic of women in the global economy. Through a series of moderated discussions, the conference provided crucial insights into how and why women are the key to the long-term profitability and growth of businesses in the banking, consumer product, technology, and manufacturing sectors, among others. The report from the conference can be requested at

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