We-Fi scales up capacity-building for women-owned SMEs

Aimed for greater inclusiveness in corporate supply chain in BangladeshThe Bangladesh chapter of World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) launched a capacity-building program on Sunday to enhance women entrepreneurs’ ability to do business with large buyersThe project supports women-owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) to advance in a profitable supply chain, said ap ress release.

WEConnect International and North South University will implement this multi-pronged capacity-building program. 

At the virtual ceremony, key stakeholders assembled to present the initiative’s overarching goal- enabling WSMEs to connect and do business with local and multinational corporations committed to expanding inclusive sourcing throughout their value chains. 

The overall program is known as Corporate Connect. 

Emphasis is put on capacity-building training, with the aims of informing and educating the WSMEs about potential opportunities, capacity-development and subsequently, connecting them to corporations for business generation. 

Hosna Ferdous Sumi, private sector specialist of Word Bank, said that economic participation and representation of women businesses in the corporate supply chain will enhance female entrepreneurs’ ability to provide quality service through their inclusive growth, alongside large companies.

The program will include a 20-hour Advanced Training Program, a pitch training, and will establish linkages between WSMEs and buyers through business-matchmaking events. 

Corporate representatives will also serve as resource persons during the training.

“I am confident that we will succeed in making the connections that benefit both buyers and women suppliers,” said Elizabeth A Vazquez, CEO and co-founder of WEConnect International. 

WEConnect and North South University will work together to share business intelligence, and train those WSMEs seeking networking opportunities and insights into navigating the complexities of corporate value chains, she added.

Atiqul Islam, vice chancellor of North South University, said: “We look forward to helping women entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to compete for new business on a global scale.” 

Over the next three years, Corporate Connect aims to train over 700 women to be supplier-ready, and to have them work with at least 40 large companies to improve supplier-diversity efforts. 

In collaboration with SME Foundation, the project is developing a national-supplier database to facilitate business connections between WSMEs and corporations.