How Technology is Creating Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Electronics engineering students in Indonesia design their own printed circuit boards at one of the campus' numerous electronics labs. Photo Credit: ADB

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From small villages to Silicon Valley, modern technology is giving rise to new leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as innovative companies.


Modern technology has ushered in a new era of constant innovation and change, bringing in vast opportunities for entrepreneurs and leaders, as well as creating innovative companies.

Key Findings

At the Asian Development Bank’s 7th International Skills Forum, various private and development institutions presented evidence in which access to modern technology has spawned new entrepreneurs and leaders, as well as innovative companies.

In South Asia, technology has enabled women to slowly close the economic gender gap. Women entrepreneurs use the internet for online buyer platforms, and a mobile network as a peer-to-peer system that supports women to start and sustain their businesses. These social networks are also getting banks to lend to women without collateral so that women have the opportunity to access capital. These initiatives have led to increased women’s engagement in the economic sphere, said Jane Sloane, director for Women Empowerment at Asia Foundation.

Technology has also enabled startups to break into the mold with low capital costs and gain potential for scale and immediate access to global markets, said Stephanie Sy, founder and CEO of Thinking Machines, a Philippines-based data science consultancy firm that helps companies make data-driven decisions. She said trends such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), business process outsourcing, the use of cryptocurrency, and a wave of cultural acceptance for startups and technology jobs are stirring excitement in the technology industry.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in its October 2017 study entitled, World Employment and Social Outlook 2017: Sustainable Enterprises and Jobs, said technological changes and innovation are shaping the world of work in new and different ways. Innovative companies tend to be more productive, create more jobs and employ more skilled and female workers, the study showed. On the other hand, innovation has also led to more heightened use of temporary workers and tailored skills obtained through in-house training.  


International Labour Organization. Sustainable Enterprises Programme.

J. Sloane. 2017. Be Bold for Change: Sparking Transformations for Women in Bangladesh. 1 March. The Asia Foundation.

Related Links

Event:  7th ADB International Skills Forum

Hideki Kagohashi
Enterprise Development Specialist, International Labour Organisation

Hideki Kagohashi is the Enterprise Development Specialist of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Jane Sloane
Director of Women Empowerment, The Asia Foundation

Jane Sloane is Director of Women Empowerment at The Asia Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Sloane spent four years as Vice President of Programs with the Global Fund for Women, where she led a team of program staff in managing Global Fund for Women’s global grant-making and programmatic initiatives.

Stephanie Sy
Founder and CEO, Thinking Machines Data Science

Stephanie Sy is the founder and CEO of Thinking Machines Data Science, a data science consultancy that solves business problems for clients using machine learning, and data storytelling. Previously, she was a product analyst at Google Headquarters. She graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in Management Science & Engineering.

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