Women in Business - Aspen Institute Italia

Women in Business
The Transatlantic Link
organized in cooperation with
The Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute México
Valore D
Women for Expo
Aspen Institute Italia is launching a new initiative – in cooperation with Italian and international partners (The
Aspen Institute, Aspen Institute México, Valore D and Women for Expo) – where women from both sides of the
Atlantic can share experiences and best practices, seek investment opportunities, discuss corporate governance‐
related issues and help foster the empowerment of women in developing countries.
Such a network seems particularly timely today, in the context of ongoing negotiations between the United States and the European Union on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). If finalized, the TTIP will go beyond the creation of a transatlantic free trade area; it will align regulations on manufacturing and services and eliminate barriers to foreign direct investment. Not only will this create new opportunities for enterprises, but it will also encourage competitiveness on the two sides of the Atlantic, resulting in significant economic growth. In this context, women‐led businesses – big enterprises and small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) both –
will benefit. As shown by recent research, the contribution of women in economic activities is increasingly crucial.
Today, there are over 8.6 million women‐owned businesses in the United States, which generate over $1.3 trillion
in revenues and employ nearly 7.8 million people. In Europe, 14% of SMEs are majority‐led by women (either run
by a woman or have a management team that is over 50% female). Such figures are increasing in the United States
and Europe, yet much remains to be done in developing markets.
More in detail, the initiative aims to:
Open up a new channel of conversation between women in business on the two sides of the Atlantic –
including among NAFTA countries – on corporate governance‐related issues;
Create a Transatlantic Businesswomen’s network – a platform where female entrepreneurs from both sides of
the Atlantic can exchange information, share experiences and take advantage of the benefits eventually
deriving from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership;
Seek investment opportunities for women‐led companies on both sides of the Atlantic (joint venture
opportunities, project opportunities, etc.);
Focus on specific sectors, starting in 2015 with food security, agrobusiness, nutrition and health. This will
allow us to take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by Expo 2015. In 2016 we will focus on the
new industrial revolution and its implications (technology, skills etc.)
In the second half of 2014, targeted fund‐raising will be carried out and an event will be organized. In 2015‐2016 these events will follow:
Launching events in February 2015 in Washington, D.C. and New York City with Madeleine Albright, Sergio
Marchionne and Hillary Clinton as possible keynote speakers;
Aspen two days in Milan, focused on governance food security, fight against waste, nutrition and health, during Expo 2015 (8‐9 July);
An event in Mexico on “Women and diversity: the challenge of identity”, in 2016.
Program overview
We have a vision. We believe that the private, public and corporate dimensions are strongly interrelated so that the
advancement of one cannot happen at the expense of the others. We also believe that the best visions happen when
visions from different people, countries, backgrounds and life experiences are brought together.
This is why our program is structured as a transatlantic discussion taking place in different locations among
visionary women from the two sides of the ocean. We will talk about business, governance, life and culture in
general in the US and Europe. However, our goal is not to thoroughly explore the countries and their practices
themselves. This has already been done and would be nothing innovative. What we want to do is first discuss
“hot” governance topics against the cultural backdrop of the US, Italy and Europe, understanding differences and
focusing on traits which traditionally mark out each location and culture we are going to tap into. This will
became crucial to turn TTIP into reality. Secondly, we want to focus on specific sectors, starting in 2015 with food
security, nutrition and health.