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Empowering Women for Business Growth

Posted by Ruth Kinzey on Tue, 2014-02-18 17:49

Whether you look at the world of commerce in the United States or abroad, it’s clear females meet significant barriers to achieving economic equality with the opposite sex. This is unfortunate because female leaders and entrepreneurs have much to offer.

In a study conducted by Zenger and Folkman, overall leadership by gender and by position showed female executives surpassed their male counterparts in some of the study’s 16 competencies. And, these weren’t just in the capacity of “nurturing aptitude,” which is sometimes assumed. Instead, the study showed women scoring higher than men in areas such as taking initiative; driving for results; displaying high honesty and integrity; collaboration and teamwork; and championing change.

Then, check out global statistics like these:

  • Only 38% of all small businesses registered worldwide are owned by women.
  • Of the 135 million children in the world between 7 and 18 who are not being...

One for One – and Many More

Posted by Guest Contributor on Tue, 2014-02-18 13:14

By Milton Funes, Country Director, Global Communities Rwanda

Twenty years ago, Rwanda experienced a brutal genocide that ripped the country apart. Nevertheless today, in so many ways, Rwanda is an impressive emerging African economic power. The country has experienced phenomenal development in the last decade, including high economic growth and poverty reduction. Between 2001 and 2012, GDP growth averaged 8% a year, according to the World Bank.

Still, large pockets of poverty remain, especially in rural areas. Many young people are orphans of the genocide, or from the effects of HIV and AIDS. Farmland is not plentiful and there is insufficient knowledge in financial literacy and agricultural techniques. Rwandans, particularly the very young and very old, remain vulnerable to economic and health shocks.

This is one of the reasons why, since 2005, Global Communities, a nonprofit organization working to assist the vulnerable around the world, has implemented programs that help Rwandans build their resilience. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), we are able to help these communities improve their conditions. In partnership with local partners on the ground, we teach them how to implement Bio Intensive Agriculture Techniques, hygiene, and how to improve their nutrition. We teach skills to help them build their livelihoods, augment their financial literacy and enhance their life skills as a way of helping them...

Wegmans Leads the Way on Youth Employment

Posted by Guest Contributor on Mon, 2014-02-17 15:14

By: Samuel Castillo, Programming and Communications Intern, USCCF’s Education and Workforce Center

Wegmans Food Markets Inc. General Counsel Paul Speranza is well known for his determination and great leadership. Paul has been presented with many awards throughout his lifetime recognizing his achievements, such as the 2009 Corning Award for Excellence, the most prestigious award presented by the Business Council of New York State. His accomplishments would not have been possible without the full college scholarship he was awarded his senior year of high school to attend Syracuse University. Grateful for the opportunity given to him, Paul has made it his mission to help the younger generation in his community have the same opportunities he was given.

Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Paul knows firsthand that the education system is not up to par with other communities in New York. According to the State Department of Education, only 43.4 % of high school seniors in Rochester public schools graduated in 2013. Of those who did graduate, less than 10 percent were college ready. With Paul’s support, Wegmans has been able to implement new initiatives focused on high school seniors who are preparing to graduate and...

Business-Nonprofit Partnerships: New Research Shows There’s Still Room To Grow

Posted by Jeff Lundy, PhD on Thu, 2014-02-13 10:35

Read the Full Report

Join our Feb. 18 Webinar

Over the last 10 to 20 years, businesses became more strategic with their philanthropy. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation we’ve seen the growth of skills-based volunteers, social enterprises, and cross-sector partnerships. The business community is getting smarter in stewarding its resources, both in its corporate citizenship and its market operations. The result is greater positive social and environmental impacts. However, there is still a lot of room to grow.

Corporations in the United States recognize and are excited about the potential for growth. When the Chamber Foundation convened companies at the forefront of social and environmental issues last year, representatives from the business community had a number of questions. How do we ensure our investments in...

Skanska’s Extra Green Mile

Posted by Shanna Fricklas on Thu, 2014-02-13 10:11

If you watched Superbowl 48 I’m sure you saw the Seattle Seahawks’ dominating victory, and maybe all the freezing fans in the stands yelling their heads off, but could you also see the stadium glowing with solar power, the seats impressively made of recycled materials, or the ZERO tailgaters drinking and gaming outside beforehand?  MetLife Stadium is now the third stadium Skanska has built that held a SuperBowl and is the league’s greenest venue, according to GreenBiz. It is twice as large as the stadium it replaced and yet uses 30% less energy. These are not small lightbulb-sized changes, and yet the project was finished 3 months ahead of schedule and completely on budget. Nearly $20 million dollars have been saved in 3 years, thanks to the stadium’s state of the art technology and new affordable pricing on these installations. These upgrades and retrofits are a keen example to the rest of the corporate world, which may have large facilities that can benefit from such forward-thinking. Skanska’s leadership also proves that these changes, which many have preconceived notions about being costly, can reduce a building’s carbon footprint significantly while SAVING time and money.

With...

How Elizabeth Vazquez Connects Women-Owned Businesses to Global Markets

Posted by Kara Valikai on Wed, 2014-02-12 10:24

Join Elizabeth Vazquez at the 4th Annual International Women's Day Forum on March 4. Register today!

Recently, I spoke with Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO of WEConnect International, on the opportunity and significant potential for women business owners globally. In her role with WEConnect, Elizabeth is responsible for the vision, mission delivery, organizational growth for impact, and partner development in every region of the world.  The WEConnect International network includes offices in 16 countries, and the corporate network represents over US $700 billion in annual purchasing power. 

It was inspiring and uplifting to hear Elizabeth’s passion for empowering women through economic opportunity. I encourage you to join Elizabeth and other women’s economic empowerment leaders at our annual International Women's Day Forum, Turning Inspiration to Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally on March 4 in New York City. Register today!

Q. What...

How Companies of All Sizes Tap into Innovation

Posted by Amanda Komar on Fri, 2014-02-07 09:59

Visit the Environmental Innovation Map

Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about how small businesses have been leading the charge in creating new innovations that are great for the bottom line, but also happen to be great for the environment.   There are small technology firms creating smart thermostats and software that help measure and control wasted energy in real time; there are small farms that use the natural grazing patterns of livestock, improving energy use, water quality, and cost efficiency; and, there are small beer brewers that have reimagined every aspect of the brewing process, from using all natural ingredients to employing a fleet of biodiesel delivery trucks.

But it isn’t only small business that has realized the importance...

Putting Safety in People’s Hands (Literally)

Posted by Jenny Abramson on Thu, 2014-02-06 16:54

With the frequency of mass shootings, bullying and suicide increasing and school safety in a fearful state--school shootings are happening, on average, every other week--LiveSafe has found a solution that leverages the public's knowledge and people's love of their smartphones to keep us all safer. Learn how the simplicity of the app is empowering people to keep us all safer!

There are three basic understandings that the LiveSafe mobile app was founded on, with the first being that public safety, especially school safety, is in a tenuous state. As it stands, an average of two mass shootings that result in at least four deaths occur every month, about 1,350 college students commit suicide every year, and 76% of violent crimes at schools never get reported to police. Indeed, these statistics are frightening, dumbfounding, and downright depressing.

Our second understanding is that people are a great source of knowledge. Those who are on the ground and “in the trenches” know best the daily nuances of the people they interact with day-to-day. They are better fit to detect a subtle and possibly suspicious change in someone’s behavior or manner- something cameras couldn’t catch. They are closer to overhearing a quiet comment made by a...

How This One Surprising Dataset Can Save Your Life

Posted by Michael Hendrix on Mon, 2014-01-27 17:29

Data, Big Data, data analytics—these terms are a dime-a-dozen in the tech space. Yet their application is often much further afield. Take medical care, for instance. In Raleigh, NC, one emergency medical service is finding how data analytics saves lives.

When a heart attack hits and someone dials 911, a complicated ballet is set into motion to keep death at bay. At each step from the ambulance to the hospital and beyond, medical providers are collecting valuable information to inform their decisions on how best to care for their patients. That data is most useful when the patient is nearest to the provider; beyond that point, it effectively gets shelved. 

For years, Wake County Emergency Medical Services was just like every one of these medical providers: sitting on reams of seemingly useless patient data. That’s the result of over 88,000 ambulance calls a year, including some 500 heart attack cases...

Bringing People Together Through Affordable Internet Access

Posted by Marie Thérèse Royce on Wed, 2014-01-22 15:05

By Marie Royce and Florence Gaudry-Perkins from Global Government & Public Affairs in Alcatel-Lucent

“Many of us have spent much of our lives without access to telecommunications or information services, and many of us will not live to see the flowering of the information age. But our children will. They are our greatest asset. And it is our responsibility to give them the skills and insight to build the information societies of the future.”

These were the words of Nelson Mandela, whose presidency of South Africa was widely hailed for bringing the nation together through common understanding. “The young people of the world must be empowered to participate in the building of the information age. They must become the citizens of the global information society. And we must create the best conditions for their participation”.

The ICTD – the International Conference on Information & Communications Technologies and Development – which took place in Cape Town in December 2013,  provided a launch platform for a key piece of research by the Alliance For Affordable Internet (A4AI), a new coalition of public sector, NGOs and enterprises including Alcatel-Lucent with a shared aim of seeing...

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