BENEFITS FOR WOMEN SMEs
- Engage corporations for championing a movement of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I) and help them to be the Change-makers.
- Train and develop the resources of WSMEs to become reliable and valuable suppliers.
- Associate and connect WSMEs with Corporate buyers.
In 2017, the World Bank Group in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce in Bangladesh and implemented by Corporate Connect, administered a survey to understand what the market thinks about women-owned businesses. Respondents included 37 corporate representatives and 60 women entrepreneurs. Findings were further qualified through interviews and focus group discussions with women entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, and government, non-government, and financial sector stakeholders.
The findings were staggering:
- 55% of corporate survey respondents do not believe that WSMEs, which are smaller in size and have limited access to finance, can provide the highest-priority goods and services typically procured by local corporations.
- 48% of women business owners report difficulty in making connections to corporate buyers.
- Access to capital is ranked as a top challenge (in Bangladesh 36% of women have a bank account compared to 65% of men).
- Nearly 20% of corporate respondents do not know whether their corporation procures from WSMEs.
- There is a perception among WSMEs that entrepreneurship is not a respected career path for women in Bangladesh.
In February 2020, a day-long conference on supplier diversity was hosted and attended by corporate representatives, women business owners, government officials and support organizations to discuss ways in which to ensure more WSMEs benefit from business-to-business transactions. As part of this discussion, senior corporate representatives from the Advisory Committee and other sourcing professionals and executives from across Bangladesh convened to further explore strategies for increasing gender-inclusive sourcing and supply chain financing. Over the next three years, the project will be scaled to provide supplier development training to an additional 700 women entrepreneurs as well as engage more corporations in their efforts to initiate gender-inclusive sourcing. To further support these efforts, a supplier and a buyer database will be developed by SME Foundation and Innovision Consulting, to provide a link between women entrepreneurs and procurement professionals. The World Bank Group in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce in Bangladesh, other governmental agencies, Corporate Connect, and North South University will work to connect WSMEs to corporate value chains as part of a sustainable long-term economic growth strategy. The training program and business development events will take into account the ongoing COVID-19 crisis by incorporating best practices in virtual learning and networking.
CORPORATE CONNECT TIMELINE
About The World Bank
The World Bank is a unique global partnership comprising five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. The World Bank Group works with 189 member countries and is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. For more information, visit www.worldbank.org
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative partnership among 14 governments (Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States), six multilateral development banks and other public and private stakeholders. Housed in the World Bank Group, We-Fi seeks to unlock billions of dollars in financing to tackle the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while strengthening policy and legal and regulatory frameworks. For more information, visit www.we-fi.org
About WEConnect International
WEConnect International is a member-led, global non-profit that brings motivated, large corporate, multilateral, and government buyers together with qualified women-owned suppliers around the world. It works with over 120 multinational buyers, with over $1 trillion in annual purchasing power combined, that have committed to sourcing more products and services from women-owned businesses based in over 120 countries. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside of the U.S. that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. For more information, visit www.WEConnectInternational.org
About North South University
North South University, established in 1992, is the first private university and the largest private university in Bangladesh which is rapidly rising in QS ranking and employability reputation. North South University is recognized as one of the top 100 Asian universities in 2020 according to QS Asia ranking 2020. www.northsouth.edu
About SME Foundation
The Small & Medium Enterprise Foundation is widely known as SME Foundation. The major activities of SME Foundation are implementation of SME Policy Strategies adopted by the Bangladesh Government, policy advocacy and intervention for the growth of SMEs, facilitating financial supports for SMEs, providing skill development and capacity building training, facilitating adaptation with appropriate technologies and access to ICT, providing business support services, etc. It is mentionable here that the Foundation is working for the development of enterprises and entrepreneurs who belong to micro, small and medium categories as per Industrial Policy 2016. Besides the general supports to the development of SMEs and entrepreneurs the Foundation is providing diversified supports to the existing and potential women entrepreneurs in order to position them into the mainstream business community. smef.portal.gov.bd
Innovision is an international development consultancy working to make economies, societies and communities more inclusive and sustainable. Innovision prioritizes providing data, analytics and evidence for inclusive interventions; leading market systems and value chain interventions globally; and, facilitating skills to lead the work for inclusive growth www.innovision-bd.com