To help bridge the economic divide that exists in many urban cities, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University in conjunction with the Center for Civic Innovation, the Atlanta Committee for Progress convened a panel of local experts in Atlanta at the Center for Civic Innovation for a discussion on how to build an inclusive economy that leverages Atlanta’s creative and tech sectors and promotes equity as a tool for growth.

“Inclusive growth is one of the defining issues of our time,” said Craig Vosburg, president, North America, Mastercard. “We are meeting with leading voices in a number of cities to help us better understand how we can work together to expand opportunities for all. We see an important role for Mastercard and our partners to help connect everyone to the networks that power the modern economy.”

Over the course of the afternoon, attendees heard the first-hand experiences of leaders across the city who are creating and supporting viable solutions to build economic opportunity. The conversation ranged from how to connect artists with corporations to how to foster more civic engagement between public and private sector organizations to promote sustainable growth in Atlanta’s digital economy.

Rohit Malhotra, the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation, kicked off the event noting how fitting it was to have the conversation of inclusive growth and equity in Atlanta – a city that was at the heart of the Civil Rights movement.

 A consistent theme among panelists across the course of the event was the need for broader inclusion in growing the economy. As Duriya Farooqui, Executive Director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress noted, “leaders need to take the initiative to start conversations on inclusion.”

“The first step to inclusive growth is a greater understanding of the current economic issues. You need a cultural thermometer to understand what is happening in the world, and build on that,” added Amanda Sabreah, CEO of Partnr.

Sonal Shah, Executive Director of the Beeck Center at Georgetown University, highlighted the role of data in building a more inclusive economy, and stated how, “the concept of the digital economy is big, but it needs to be humanized and understood at a local level.”

The event in Atlanta was part of the Center’s ‘On the Frontlines of Inclusive Growth’ tour. Bringing together local businesses, think tanks, policymakers, thought leaders and other influencers in cities across the United States, the Center is examining how to democratize productivity, foster an environment of inclusive growth and better residents’ lives.

At the conclusion, the Center will publish its findings and develop programming and activities to promote inclusive growth in the U.S. during 2017 and beyond.

This effort is just the latest step in the ongoing support of local communities by Mastercard.  From the Master Your Card program to engagement with the National Urban League and other organizations, Mastercard has a long-standing commitment to work with community leaders to understand the challenges they face and develop solutions that drive empowerment and inclusion.

The mission of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. As an independent subsidiary of Mastercard, we combine data, expertise, technology and philanthropic investments to empower a community of thinkers, leaders and innovators working on the front lines of inclusive growth.

For more information on the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, click here.

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