Top 5 Moments for Business and Education in 2017

Photo © Save the Children

In 2017, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) was busy mobilizing business’ talents and resources to support learning throughout the world. As the year comes to a close, five moments stood out and exemplified how the private sector is doing its part to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality education for all.

Here are our Top 5:

1.Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative Launched During United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

At GBC-Education’s annual UNGA event, Rosalind Hudnell – Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Intel and President of the Intel Foundation – launched the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative. The Youth Skills and Innovation Commission met for the first time, discussing how to prepare today’s young people for the workforce of tomorrow; the Commission will put forward new models to close the growing skills gap among children and youth, supported by research partners and youth groups based in various countries.

2.Business Commits to Education in Emergencies

Throughout 2017, GBC-Education showed support for the Education Cannot Wait (fund) (ECW) through its Rapid Education Action (REACT) initiative; REACT connects business, implementation partners, and ECW to deliver educational opportunity where it is needed most. For example, McKinsey & Co. has already agreed to provide to ECW with two years of valuable research, data, and solutions on refugee education.


A total of $29 million was committed toward supporting ECW at GBC-Education’s annual UNGA event – with $13 million from the European Union and $16 million from the Danish government. In addition, HP announced new commitments toward education in emergencies.

3.IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings Amplify Business’ Commitment to Finance Education


During the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in April, GBC-Education hosted an event of over 100 attendees including senior business executives from more than 30 companies, philanthropic leaders, and government representatives. The conversation highlighted the importance of education financing, and why the international community needs to step up when it comes to funding educational opportunity.

4.Education recognized by G20: New innovative finance facility


Major progress was made during the G20 meeting this summer, with world leaders recognizing the need to finance global education. In its communiqué, the G20 recognized the UN Secretary General’s “proposal to establish an International Financing Facility for education” that will be taken forward by the Argentine G20 leadership in 2018. In the coming year, we hope to build on the success of this year by working with the Argentine government in expanding support for education financing.

5.Business Backs Game-Changers: Girls’ Education and Early Childhood Development


In the beginning of the year, early childhood education took center stage during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Before the meeting, Tony Lake – Executive Director of UNICEF – authored an article on why and how the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are essential to our collective economic success. Shakira – who is a member of the Education Commission – spoke on the importance of early childhood development for business.

On International Women’s Day, GBC-Education took part in the event held by Theirworld in London on on #RewritingTheCode. Throughout the world, women and girls are being denied a quality education primarily due to their gender; in order to combat these systemic challenges, it’s essential for the international community – including business – to combat societal forces that prevent people from going to school.

In its new report, Investing Smart, Investing Early, GBC-Education outlined the different ways that the private sector can empower its employees and contribute to early childhood development – with a special focus on Kenya.