500+ In Attendance for the Inaugural Women In Business – North America Summit (June 2016 – Atlanta, GA)

During the recent North American Leaders Summit (NALS), each nation’s leaders – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed ways to advance trade and competitiveness.  Millions of jobs in each nation are dependent upon trilateral trade.

So, how will these nations maintain their competitive edge?  While technology and innovation will be important factors, NALS also highlighted the links ongoing economic prosperity and efforts to strengthen North American women’s entrepreneurship.

Prior to NALS, the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta worked closely with U.S. and Mexican partners to host the inaugural Women In Business -- North America Summit (Summit).  From June 15-17, 2016, more than 550 female entrepreneurs and senior executives from Canada, Mexico and the US attended a wide range of workshops (corporate strategy, entrepreneurship and finance) and special sessions. 

Partners from the public and private sectors leveraged their networks to connect attendees with key contacts.  The Summit’s Canadian partners included Global Affairs Canada, Air Canada, American Chamber of Commerce Canada, Business Women In International Trade, Business Events Canada. CGI and Export Development Canada. 

Other strategic event partners included Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business; Delta Air Lines; J. E. Dunn; Fifth Third Bank; Lowe’s;  Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Morris, Manning & Morris, LLP; UPS; US Department of Commerce; US Small Business Administration; and Women In Technology.

Summit highlights included:

  • Strong Canadian delegation, including 43 women-led, women-founded or co-led/founded Canadian companies;
  • Remarks from prominent speakers including Girls20 CEO Farah Mohamed; Bombardier Board Member Martha Finn Brooks; US SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts and other Canadian, US and Mexican executives.
  • Business-To-Business program with U.S. anchor companies including City of Atlanta – Office of Sustainability, Delta Air Lines, JE Dunn Construction, Lowes Home Improvement and UPS;
  • Mentors lounge which facilitated one-on-one conversations;
  • Successful social media strategy that engaged participants and reached more than 530,000 people; and
  • Feedback from the Summit has been positive.  Attendees highlighted the access to decision makers, opportunity to network with their “international” peers and quality of information provided in the workshops as the event’s top aspects.  

During NALS, each nation’s leader signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding promoting women’s entrepreneurship and the growth of women-owned enterprises in North America.  Per the agreement, the nations will work together to facilitate women’s access to global value chains and participation in international trade; promote partnerships; bolster mentoring relationships; and facilitate networking and information sharing.

The three countries are also pursuing these joint activities under the umbrella of the subcommittee on Women’s Entrepreneurship of the Mexico-United States Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council which Canada joined in 2015.  Planned efforts include sending representatives to the 2016 Women’s Business Centers Leadership Conference, presented by the U.S. Association of Women's Business Centers, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to share best practices and foster new partnerships; and sponsoring a Canadian and American business women trade mission to Mexico as early as 2016-2017.

For additional information on the 2016 Summit, please contact ATNTA-TD@international.gc.ca