Source: WEConnect

WEConnect International is inaugurating a Women-Owned Business (WOB) Enhanced Verification to connect women-owned businesses to corporate value chains so that they can grow their businesses.

The effort, which will run from January to February, is part of the Corporate Connect: Strengthening Market Access for Women Business Owners World Bank Group project implemented by WEConnect International. The Enhanced Verification will enable high-achieving small and medium enterprises to identify as women-owned businesses and gain exposure to member buyers. Local corporations that wish to source from women-owned businesses can be reassured they are engaging with formally registered enterprises.

Businesses whose applications are approved will join WEConnect International’s WECommunity and will be invited to meet procurement representatives and senior corporate leaders at the upcoming 2020 Conference & Business Fair taking place 9 February in Dhaka.

Research conducted by McKinsey estimates that $4.5 trillion could be added to the countries of Asia Pacific’s annual GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s empowerment. Globally women-owned businesses earn less than 1 percent of the money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments.

In Bangladesh, more than 550,000 cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises are owned by women. Connecting these businesses to corporate value chains can create new jobs and cater to the country’s growing middle class.

In addition, local and multinational corporations sourcing from Bangladesh are interested in diversifying their supply chains. But in a survey conducted among 37 corporate representatives, only 29 percent of respondents knew whether their company procured from women suppliers.

WEConnect International connects women-owned businesses with multinational corporate purchasing organizations outside of the United States. The WECommunity is a global online database with nearly 9,000 women-owned businesses and more than 95 corporations. In 2018, thirty-eight percent of women-owned businesses in the WEConnect International network experience revenue growth greater than 10 percent and one in three businesses said that the network had increased the visibility of their enterprises.