Economic Development

Entrepreneurial Sustainability: ANDE Annual Global Conference

September 21, 2023  • The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy

Sometimes, an Aspen Institute event creates such headlines that the Slice only needs to point interested readers to them—though sometimes we need to point further afield than the US media. 

Such is the case with the at-capacity ANDE Annual Global Conference, held last week in Accra, Ghana. The gathering marked the halfway point toward the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a timeline the world can’t meet without incorporating small and medium enterprises in the equation. It’s estimated that 65 million firms in developing countries have an unmet financing need of $5.2 trillion annually, so the conference created spaces for dialogue among financial institutions and ecosystem stakeholders to improve coordination—and perhaps come close to closing that gap. 

Representatives, fellows, and alums of other Institute programs including Aspen Digitalthe Aspen Global Leadership Network, and the Global Innovators Group participated in the event, lending their connections and hard-earned expertise. 

Richenda Van Leeuwen, executive director of ANDE, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, promoted the conference and its hopeful message in media outlets with reach all over Africa. 

 Read more about the conference here, and stay tuned for continuing coverage.

The Future of Work: What Does It Mean to Have a Good Job?

Last week, we highlighted a few of the important Labor Day discussions from our Economic Opportunities Program. Though we still have a few more articles to share with you, we’ll spend this week with a fabulous interview with Shelly Steward, director of the program’s Future of Work Initiative

In a new video in the Aspen Ignites series, Steward is interviewed by Taylor Nicole Rogers, US labor and equality correspondent for the Financial Times. It’s a wide-ranging conversation packed into just over 12 minutes, during which the two discuss labor protections and benefits, worker power, good jobs, gig work, and artificial intelligence—which will affect not only day-to-day work, but how people are hired and the algorithmically discriminatory reasons they may not be.

The future of work depends on decisions that we make today—decisions about policy, decisions about the way we want to lead business, decisions about the way we show up to work,” says Steward. “If we want to move to that future of shared prosperity of democratically engaged citizens, we need to make decisions that push us in that direction—and I’m optimistic that we will.”

Watch the whole video here.

WealthWorks: A Powerful Tool for Thriving Rural Places

For a dozen years now, the Institute’s Community Strategies Group has been collaborating with partners to develop materials, curriculum, and engagements around WealthWorks—an approach to economic development that works at the local and regional level to build economic opportunities and assets for those on the economic margins. 

What’s new: 

Aspen CSG has launched a redesigned and updated WealthWorks website, bringing a detailed and accessible guide to anyone active in community and economic development. 

The basics:

  • Explore Regional Wealth Building. This includes taking a broad view of wealth, to include the “eight capitals”—intellectual, financial, natural, cultural, built, political, individual, and social.
  • Identify a Market Opportunity. Use a region’s unique stock of capitals to address appropriate development opportunities.
  • Construct a Value Chain. A WealthWorks value chain is a network of people, businesses, organizations, and agencies addressing a market opportunity to meet demand for specific products or services—advancing self-interest while building rooted local and regional wealth.
  • Gauge Wealth and Impact. Value chains around the country are all working toward the same core principles of building local ownership, lasting livelihoods, and multiple community capitals, so the website offers a common set of measures to help attract new investors and justify community effort. 

Read more here.

This piece was originally published in APIE’s newsletter ‘The Weekly Slice’. Click here to subscribe