Category ArchiveFinancial Services

Seeds of Change: Women Entrepreneurs and the Wellness Sector

Women entrepreneurs are drawn to the wellness and healthy living sector. As consumers of every generation increasingly focus on health and wellness, female entrepreneurs and business leaders will be big beneficiaries.

Women-Owned Businesses Soar

Each day, women launch around 850 new businesses in the U.S., and the number of firms headed by women has increased by more than 40% since 2007. Women are now the majority owners of an estimated 11.6 million businesses in the country—39% of all U.S. businesses — according to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

Healthy Growth in Wellness Sector

The growth in women-owned companies is marching in unison with another major trend — the rapid expansion of the healthy living sector. According to data from the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry grew by 10.6% worldwide between 2013 and 2015 and accounts for revenue of $3.72 trillion on a global basis. It is now a key part of the second-largest sector of women-owned businesses in the U.S., following services such as nail and hair salons and pet services.

See the full article of CI executive director Denise Bedell’s latest work for

Seeds of Change: How Women Owners Are Driving Business Growth in the Wellness Sector

Improving Financial Literacy for Today’s Students

It’s been estimated that 90% of business failures around the world are due to poor financial management. Not marketing or labour problems, but good old-fashioned bad management. So how do we resolve this problem? We need to go back to basics and concentrate on financial literacy, one of the world’s biggest challenges.


Although there are many worthwhile financial literacy initiatives happening today all over the planet, too many of us don’t have a basic understanding of things like budgets, inflation and interest rates. Although it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to possess sophisticated financial knowledge, it is broadly agreed that some financial knowledge is necessary to make important life decisions related to money.


Building personal financial capabilities early in life can give people the foundation for financial well being in the future. Schools are an important channel to provide the education that can improve financial literacy. Studies in the U.S. have shown that financial education, when done properly, leads to an improvement in financial behaviour.


But there’s a long way to go. According to a survey of 13 million U.S. high school students, only one in six received mandatory financial education. And only 17 states require personal financial content to be included in educational standards.  


Of course, people want to make good financial decisions that set them up for success, but most haven’t had the opportunity to learn. For instance, a significant number of American adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test with three questions on stocks, interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example:


Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?


  • More than $102
  • Exactly $102
  • Less than $102


Although 43% earned scores of three, meaning they correctly answered all the questions and another 36% received scores of two, 21% got only one or zero questions right. Across all households, the average score was 2.2. Considering that the questions are relatively simple, those scores aren’t good enough and show why financial literacy needs to improve, and not only in the United States. (The correct answer in the sample question, by the way, is more than $102.)


In Canada, the Ontario Working Group on Financial Literacy concluded that students need to be financially literate to make more informed choices in a complex and fast-changing financial world. Financial literacy education provides a critical set of lifelong skills, the report added. To that end, the group recommended that teachers be given professional training and resources to increase their knowledge of financial literacy topics that can be passed on to students. In addition, the report suggests that parents and families be invited to participate on the development of their children’s financial literacy education.


Financial literacy can be a hard sell for educators, many of whom don’t see the importance of adding it to the curriculum. But it’s a skill all of us need to succeed in life. If you teach a child about financial literacy, odds are he won’t come back to live in your basement after college.

3 Ways Financial Institutions are Closing the Gaps in Customer Satisfaction

Banks have fallen behind when it comes to innovative content marketing, and it’s easy to see why. Hampered by legacy systems that have proven difficult to integrate, and with financial tech startups offering more a convenient experience coupled with customer service rivaling and even exceeding that of traditional banks in terms of quality, the time has come for customer-facing banks to modernize their collective approach to online and in-person engagement. Here’s how some institutions are making that happen:


  • While the appeal of online banking continues to expand with 49% of all millennials using online banking for routine transactions, companies like Trailhead Credit Union are also aware of the impact the consumer experience at their physical locations is crucial to connecting with their audience. Having “transformed its look and messaging to connect with the urbanite spirit of Portland”, they’ve seen record-breaking growth in their customer engagement thanks to its commitment to appealing to their consumers.


  • By analyzing their consumer base and re-evaluating their content strategies, respected firms like Liberty Mutual and Santander Bank are providing targeted, curated content with the intent of educating certain demographics on relevant services that are available to them. For example, Santander recently focused on its millennial demographic, and aimed to connect with potential customers who may be closing in on a point in their lives when they need a loan. By providing them with a wealth of valuable information and drawing traffic into their core banking site, they were able to attract new customers, gain their trust, and gain further insights about their audience.


  • Innovation is impossible to achieve without experimentation, which is why America First Credit Union opened their innovation center in Salt Lake City. Designed from the ground up to be an interactive experience for customers, it also functions as a space to provide live demonstrations of new technology to the public, who can provide instant feedback and help expedite the development process with their input.


Ultimately the need for a personalized, targeted approach to delivering outstanding customer experiences continues to serve as a driving force for experimentation in the field of consumer-facing financial services, which a growing tribe of innovative firms capitalizing on the trend and proving that no matter how convenient your service may be, a certain human touch is necessary for facilitating the personal connection between you and your audience that sets you apart from the competition.


For more in-depth info on engaging with your audiences, click here.

For tips on improving your own digital content strategy click here.

The Cyber Tent, a step into the future of programming and cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Since the launch of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones (SFCPD) in late 2017, tech nerds in the Kingdom have felt that they have a place to exercise their expertise. The SFCPD has since created the perfect atmosphere for those interested in technology to unleash their ability and to benefit the public and private sectors in this field.

In its strategy to spread the awareness of the federation and its goals, the SFCPD has started its Cyber Tent in King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah to provide entertaining and beneficial lectures and activities. The free-of-charge Cyber Tent has recorded a large number of male and female participants from mixed backgrounds to attend the lectures.

Saud Bawazeer, an expert programmer and entrepreneur who is one of the lecturers on the second day of the event, told Arab News: “The creation of SFCPD and this forum is amazing for us as a technology community. Cybersecurity is not only about organization protection, it protects individuals by spreading knowledge to be exercised in daily tech-related activities. The Cyber Tent, a step into the future of programming and cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia

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Celebrating Financial Literacy Month

Last month was “Financial Literacy Month” in the USA,  here is a small video about how the day was established and why its important.



VIDEO: Why Competitive Strategy Is Critical to Success for Mid-Size Companies

Time spent on competitive strategy is a key indicator of success for mid-sized companies.

Value Added Services

Socially Responsible Investing Gets a Boost from BlackRock ETF

Asset management giant BlackRock has partnered with market data provider Thomson Reuters to launch a new exchange-traded fund tracking companies that promote diversity and inclusion — enhancing its focus on socially responsible investing.

The ‘iShares Thomson Reuters Inclusion & Diversity UCITS ETF‘ will track Thomson Reuters’ Diversity & Inclusion Index, which ranks around 2,000 companies globally and includes the 100 most-diverse company worldwide, as measured by a set of 24 metrics.

The increasing availability of corporate sustainability data, as well as advancement in technology, has made it possible to better measure and understand metrics, such as inclusion and diversity, from an investment perspective,” explains Brian Deese, Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock. “At BlackRock, we are committed to being leaders in using new data and tools that deliver sustainable investment solutions at scale, which help to improve financial outcomes for our clients and accelerate the adoption of sustainable business practices globally.”


GDPR and US Cybersecurity Policy

US businesses that have customers or clients in Europe are scrambling to comply as GDPR is now in effect. There are some concerns that the US private sector will have to look out for the policy here at home.With every major data breach, people become more outraged which will likely prompt policy action. The EU GDPR marks a turning point in the policymaking arena due to one fundamental premise. Under the GDPR individuals have the right to privacy and to control what happens to their data. IDG Contributor Network: The impact of GDPR on US cybersecurity policy

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Investment Banks Spent More on Fintech in 2017

While top-tier investment banks cut their fintech budgets in 2017, that reduction was more than made up by increased spending from Tier 2 and 3 players, according to a report out from Boston Consulting Group.

Strategies for fintech spend are also diverging, says BCG.

Bank investment strategies also diverged. Tier 2 & 3 players invested mainly in industry- wide fintech initiatives, whereas Tier 1 banks, which have been active buyers of fintech equity for longer, took a more balanced approach, often seeking competitive advantage through standalone investments.

Overall fintech spend in the capital markets space was down, however, as venture capital firms cut  their investment, according to the report. ”

Investment was less than half that of the previous two years, and the lowest since 2012, with venture capital firms in particular reducing their funding.