Overview 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. Empowering Women in South Asia 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. Enabling Startups to Scale Up 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. Raising Productivity at Work 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. Resources 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 Ask the Experts 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. Leave your question or comment in the section below: View the discussion thread.