What if the next billion-dollar opportunity isn’t actually China or India, but women? Learn more about the opportunities, markets, and potential of the crowd economy from these newly confirmed Crowdsourcing Week (CSW) Europe 2015 speakers, who happen to be some of the best and brightest women influencers and practitioners of crowdsourcing.

CSW Europe is the five-day comprehensive European conference on the crowd economy, taking place in Brussels, Belgium on October 19-23. Participants will learn the latest practices of crowdsourcing and collaboration in various sectors such as government, smart cities, business, finance, and technology, among many others. We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest batch of speakers: four women leaders in crowdsourcing, who are changing status quo, leading from the frontier, and will bring an exciting dynamic to Brussels.

“What We Know About the Global Sharing Economy” – Benita Matofska, Chief Sharer, Compare and Share

Benita Matofska is the Founder and Chief Sharer of Compare and Share the world’s first comparison marketplace of the Sharing Economy. A worldwide expert on the Sharing Economy, she’s also the Founder of The People Who Share, a global campaign to build a Sharing Economy and the pioneers behind Global Sharing Week. Benita is a award winning social innovator. Her 25-year career spans broadcasting, communications, business development, and entrepreneurship campaigns. She has successfully produced award-winning programmes for broadcasters including the BBC, Discovery and Channel 4 and as Head of Global Entrepreneurship at Enterprise UK, led youth-facing global entrepreneurship campaign, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). A recipient of the Nesta Innovation In Giving Fund, she has shared a platform with Desmond Tutu at the One Young World Congress, been invited to Number 10 Downing Street to present her work on the Sharing Economy and delivered presentations at TEDx, Guardian Social Enterprise Summit, Sustainable Brands, Le Web, Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Dubai and the House of Commons. She has been featured in the media worldwide including BBC Worldwide TV News, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Guardian Sustainable Business, Metro, CBC in Canada, CNN, and numerous online blogs and publications.

“Intelligent Questions Attract Intelligent Crowds” – Joanne Celens, CEO, Synthetron

Joanne co-founded Synthetron and has been its CEO since 2007. For more than 10 years she has worked on stakeholder engagement in online crowdsourcing and co-creation dialogues, and specializes in distilling the best ideas from large groups for corporate and civil society. Joanne studied business at the University of Leuven and international relations at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center. She worked 18 years for Shell in various international management positions. A Belgian national, she has lived and worked in many countries and now resides with her family in Brussels.

“The Future Without Borders” – Siret Schutting, Digital Strategist

Siret Schutting is a digital strategist and former e-governance executive with an extensive background in the innovative developments that shape the world of tomorrow. Her main topics of expertise include digital government, cybersecurity and education.

“Where’s the Next Billion Opportunity?” – Babou Olengha-Aaby, CEO, The Next Billion

Babou Olengha-Aaby is a Founder and CEO of The Next Billion, the world’s 1st impact-driven crowdfunding platform inspired by the principles of impact investing and venture philanthropy. The Next Billion aims to provide the growing number of female-led enterprises worldwide starting with Europe with a quadruple A service: Access to Finance, Access to (Business/Development) skills, Access to Markets and Access to A Network of Inspirational Role Models – all under one roof. Where the onus is on value creation, capacity building, women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion. Where female entrepreneurs and female led-enterprises are the primary focus for investment. Wise words from Babou “Female entrepreneurship is no longer just a gender issue, it’s an economic one.” Listen to Babou’s talk at TEDx Barcelona Women 2015.

In addition to the newest CSW Europe speakers announced today, you’re also going to meet and hear from these influential women in crowdsourcing from the education, social enterprise, civic campaigns, new technologies, sharing economy, and crowdfunding sectors.


“Global Learning and Exponential Technologies in Education” – Zenia Tata, Executive Director Global Expansion, XPRIZE

Zenia’s work has spanned over 21 years and 17 countries in Asia, Africa and Central America, helping not-for-profits and social enterprises with business development and program design. Now at X Prize Foundation she is helping catalyze radical breakthroughs that benefit humanity through incentivized competitions. She is taking XPRIZE to India- to try to address humanity’s grand challenges in sectors like water, food, environment, health, education, energy, security and poverty. In her free time, Zenia can be found hiking, scuba diving or on an adventure trip with her husband!

“It is Possible to Halt Global Warming!” – Marie Noelle Keijzer, CEO and Co-Founder, WeForest

A forward-thinking social-entrepreneur, Marie is committed to resolving the biggest challenge humanity is facing: global warming. Result-driven multi-cultural executive 
commanding 22 years of cross-industry expertise in multinationals and 6 years developing and growing WeForest worldwide.

Smart House, Dumb Home” – Sarah Gold, Designer

Sarah is a designer operating at the focal point of emerging technologies, digital infrastructures and civic frameworks. She is well known in the UK tech scene for her pioneering work on the Alternet, a proposal for a civic network. Her work extends from the Alternet to imagine, build and test future web infrastructure and digital tools for a more democratic society. She is co-founder of WikiHouse Foundation, the organisation to support and promote the open source project WikiHouse. Alongside her design projects, Sarah speaks on the future of the Internet, IoT, decentralisation and citizenship.

Filling The Empty Seats: The Story of BlaBlaCar” – Shana Smeets, Country Manager, BlaBlaCar

Shana Smeets studied master strategic communication and organization and management at the University of Antwerp. Decided to travel through South America afterwards to start a career in strategic communication in Belgium but moved to Paris one year later to start working for BlaBlaCar in September 2013 as Associate Marketing Manager. Since September 2014, she’s fully in charge of the Benelux Market.

“Impact and Possibilities of Civic Crowdfunding”  – Aster van Tilburg, Crowdfunding Advisor, Voor je Buurt

Aster van Tilburg is the Crowdfunding Advisor at Voor je Buurt, a crowdfunding platform for civic initiatives. She places crowdfunding for local initiatives on the map and gives support to initiators in starting a successful crowdfunding campaign. Aster is driven by enthusiastic people who work together to realize ideas that improve their neighborhood. In her experience, crowdfunding is a powerful instrument because it leads to more connections, creativity and a feeling of ownership.

Get more information on CSW Europe 2015 tracks and the full list of speakers on the conference website. Follow the action in the lead up to the conference on social with the hashtag #CSWEurope15. Remember, summer bird pricing ends September 15, 2015 – Register now.