WEConnect International Certification: Deriving Value for the Future
Jennifer Classen is the founder and owner of Ngaphaya Y2K10 (meaning BEYOND 2010), a sourcing and procurement company focusing on specialized, customized and technically complex products. Ngaphaya Y2K10 is a Proudly South African 100% Black Women-Owned business with 11 employees.
Before starting her business in 2008, Classen held an executive position within a South Africa blue chip Retailer. In her last position she developed businesses within the franchise arena in various African countries, as well as locally.
After 27 years in corporate, Classen traded her corporate ‘hat’ for an ‘entrepreneurial’ one. Her passion for people and product has been the inspiration for her own business.
Sarah Davis MCIOB MIoD | Bedford, UK
In August 2015, WEConnect International raffled off two free tickets to the 2015 Global WIL Economic Forum in Abu Dhabi among interested certified women’s business enterprises. Sarah Davis – Owner of Skills4Stem Ltd., a UK-based Global Skills and Succession Planning Consultancy with a focus within Science Technology, Engineering and Maths sectors – jumped at the opportunity, and luckily for her, her name was drawn at random for a slot.
Attending the conference has paid off well for Sarah and her team. Excellence Training recently agreed to be an Agent for Skills4Stem in Dubai, and Sarah is hoping to leverage new connections with Naseba, Youshala, and the UAE Ministry of Education, as well.
“We are growing our business in the UAE and I was interested in how the conference could help us network in this region with senior women. It is too early to say, the event was only just over three months ago, but all these new connections I anticipate will make a big difference to our existing business in the UAE.”
The experience in Abu Dhabi was also educational and may have provided Sarah with new models to expand her business even further internationally. For example, Sarah has seen how much Skills4Stem have to offer agents outside the UK and hopes to learn from her contract with Excellence Training so she and her team can start working with agents in China and the U.S. Meanwhile, her talks with the Ministry of Education has shown Sarah that governments outside the UK value a UK innovator’s ideas and want to be connected to SMEs who can add value and innovation.
Madelaine Artavia Sotela | Founder | Costa Rica
Madelaine Artavia Sotela founded Arquenz Architecture in 2002, after graduating as an architectural drafter. Studying architecture had been a challenge, as she needed to support her son, so she started doing architectural drawings at home. Then, a client to whom she had made a model and drawing plans asked if she would build the house that she had drawn. She was surprised, but took the risk of starting her own construction business.
“I had never run a project on my own, but I had the experience of having worked with my father, who was a construction supervisor and taught me much of the work as a child,” says Madelaine. “My passion for my work comes from those childhood memories.”
Madelaine started her business and kept studying architecture with many difficulties along the way. Between work and raising her son, it was not until 2012 that she managed to earn her architect diploma. From that moment, though, her company has grown and she and her team have seized many opportunities. Some of these opportunities have come through WEConnect International.
Madelaine Artavia Sotela | Fundadora |Costa Rica
Madelaine Artavia Sotela fundó Arquitectura Arquenz en el 2002, después de graduarse en dibujo arquitectónico. Estudiar arquitectura había sido un reto ya que necesitaba mantener a su hijo, por lo que comenzó a hacer dibujos arquitectónicos en casa. Entonces, un cliente al que ella había hecho un modelo y planos le preguntó si podía construirle la casa que le había diseñado. Ella decidió tomar el riesgo e iniciar su propio negocio de construcción.
"Yo nunca había dirigido un proyecto por mi cuenta, pero tenía algo de experiencia porque había trabajado con mi padre, quien era supervisor de construcción y me enseñó mucho sobre el negocio cuando era niña," dice Madelaine. "La pasión por mi trabajo viene de esos recuerdos de la infancia."
Madelaine comenzó su negocio y continuó estudiando arquitectura con muchas dificultades en el camino. Entre el trabajo y el cuidado de su hijo, no fue sino hasta el 2012 que pudo obtener su diploma de arquitecto. Sin embargo, a partir de ese momento, su empresa ha crecido y ella y su equipo han aprovechado muchas oportunidades, algunas de las cuales han llegado a través WEConnect Internacional.
Congratulations to Maggie Berry — WEConnect International Market Lead of the Year 2015
Maggie is the Executive Director for WEConnect International in Europe and joined the team in December 2012 – she has lead responsibility for the management, leadership and development of WEConnect International in Europe. Her role involves developing corporate and public sector support as well as growing and developing the database and network of registered and certified women business owners across the UK and Europe.
Previously, Maggie was the Managing Director of womenintechnology.co.uk – an online job board, recruitment and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She was involved from Women in Technology's inception in the autumn of 2004, managed all aspects of the website and the networking activities Women in Technology organised and she continues to run the Women in Technology Network on an informal basis. In March 2012 Maggie was honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and she is currently serving as a Global Agenda Council Member on Employment for the 2012-2014 term. In July 2011 she was listed as one of 15 UK-based TIAW (the International Alliance for Women) World of Difference Award winners and in July 2010 she was included in Management Today's '35 Under 35' list. She is also a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. In August 2014, Maggie was interviewed by Global Invest Her about entrepreneurship and the future of WEConnect International in Europe.
Lise Déziel, Cordé Électrique
Lise Déziel was named a WEConnect International in Canada WBE of the Year on Nov. 13, 2015!
Mme Déziel had been in the field of electrical wiring for 20 years before creating her own enterprise in 2010. Cordé Électrique has grown from 4 employees in 2010, to 45 employees in 2014.
In June 2015, Mme Déziel was invited by the Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec and WEConnect International in Canada to attend the largest American supplier diversity conference for women business owners in Austin, Texas. She hesitated but decided to join in at the last minute. In just a few days at the conference, through the introductions made by WEConnect International, a non-profit that connects women entrepreneurs to market opportunities in global chains. Ms. Déziel met with GM, FCA, Toyota, and others. These multinational corporations encouraged her to seek the certification from WEConnect International in Canada which certifies and trains women owned businesses to do business with large corporations which have supplier diversity and inclusion programs.
Following that trip and the certification, GM invited her to attend their own diversity trade show. She was also invited to attend Great Lakes diversity show. This visibility has created many opportunities to make new contacts.
Usually in this type of industry, contract takes 1-2 years to come to fruition. But since the certification, the life of her enterprise has changed in a good way, and partnership and contract negotiation have been accelerated, and she talking about possible opening of the American market. She is very optimistic about closing significant new contracts in the future based on her certification and working with corporations who promote supplier diversity and inclusion for women owned businesses.
Majda Ficko | Owner and President
Winnipeg | Manitoba | Canada
Majda Ficko was named a WEConnect International in Canada WBE of the Year on Nov. 13, 2015!
Did you know diaper rash is actually a chemical burn that can lead to infection? Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for your skin to absorb chemicals from your personal care products? Did you know that some of the shampoos and creams for babies on the market today contain chemicals like formaldehyde?
WEConnect International certified woman business owner, award-winning entrepreneur, and mother Majda Ficko knows all to well and has created an all-natural diaper cream that works – Baby Butz.
Majda gave birth to her son, Demitri, nearly 18 years ago. He was born prematurely and was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Cornelia de Lange. Against all odds, he is alive today. However, he must use a feeding tube for nourishment and forever be in diapers.
Demitri has been prone to diaper rash his entire life. For several years, Majda tried numerous over-the-counter creams, but none seemed to work. She decided to work with a chemist to create exactly what she needed. She started doing research, approaching doctors, “Tell me what I need.” In the end, Majda and the chemist created an all-natural, safe, alcohol-free, and perfume-free product that really works.
Sally Ormond | Managing Director
Suffolk | UK
I first became aware of WEConnect International through a certified member I met at a local networking event. She was aware of my business and said that she thought it would be a good fit as my skills were not only suitable to the corporate market, but also fellow WEConnect International women business owners. After looking into the organization I was impressed by the range of events and activities it offered and the number of corporate members.
I soon decided that the only way forward was to become a fully certified member (a painless process), initially deciding to try it out for a 3-year period. Anything like this takes a while to show results, but I am now into my fourth year and have worked with a few WEConnect International women business owners and a couple of corporate contacts.
I started Briar Copywriting back on 2007. I work with companies of all sizes around the world to help them communicate more effectively through the written word, both for external and internal communications. Working in partnership with my clients, I get to know them, their business and their customers and create content that fits their brand, achieves their aims and that creates a cohesive image.
Jimena Florez | CEO & Co-Foudner
Bogota | Colombia
In May 2015, 29-year-old female entrepreneur Jimena Florez traveled from Colombia to Washington, DC, as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas program. Little did she know President Obama would publically recognize her work as a social entrepreneur and applaud her efforts to promote healthy living.
It is difficult to believe that it was only four years ago that Jimena founded Crispy Fruits, offering a line of freeze-dried fruit snacks using produce from local farmers. Until recently, customers could only find Jimena’s exotic, fitness, and power mixes in specialty shops and select cafeterias. However, with the support of WEConnect International, her customer base has expanded into new territory.
One of the very first female entrepreneurs to earn certification in Colombia, Jimena attended this year’s inaugural WEConnect International Latin American Regional Forum. There she met a representative from a major hotel chain, and now she has a contract that will put Crispy Fruits in Bogota hotel rooms.
Jimena is encouraged by her early success and is already developing new products. She and her team are working with local cacao farmers to make baked goods that will not only provide more protein and iron, but will also burn calories. While she strengthens her customer base in Colombia, she also has plans to expand to the U.S. and Australian markets.
March 3, 2015
Today, as my company DIDCO turns 17, I wish to share with WEConnect International a story that makes me happy and proud.
Some years ago, when I was a marketing manager at GNP, I was informed that the project I was working on would be cancelled, leaving me with two options:
1. Relocate into another business unit, or
2. Accept a severance payment, which would mean the end of my dream of reaching the corporate marketing direction.
WEConnect International Certified Women Business Enterprises Make Enterprising Women Magazine’s Class of 2015
In January 2015, Enterprising Women Magazine announced its class of 2015 – its prestigious awards program that recognizes top women entrepreneurs around the world. This year, seven entrepreneurs certified by WEConnect International made the list:
• Sue Bennett, Bennett Design Associates, Inc., Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
• Maria Teresa Cepeda Casasus, Imaging Supplies de Mexico SA, Mexico City, Mexico
• Julia Fournier, HCMWorks, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
• Mandy Gilbert, Creative Niche Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Gabriela Leon Gutierrez, Gresmex, Naucalpan City, Mexico
• Barbara Issett, IQ Business Events, Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
• Sandra Sassow, SEaB Energy Limited, Southhampton, United Kingdom
• Vandana Mehrotra, Meteonic Innovation Pvt Ltd., Bangalore, India (honorobale mention)
Additionally, Executive Director of WEConnect International in the Caribbean Yaneek Page will be awarded for her success in building her business Future Services International in Kingston, Jamaica.
Lorena Garcini, CEO and Co-Owner
Mexico City | Mexico
Mamma Bella, founded in 1995 and led by Lorena Garcini, offers restaurant, employee cafeteria, and catering services, servicing 35 thousand guests monthly. In 2013, Garcini sought certification as a women’s business enterprise because she thought it would bring new business, unique networking opportunities, and support her company’s growth.
She was right!
As a result of their certification, Mamma Bella is now providing employee cafeteria services at two IBM facilities and corporate catering for Accenture. It has also organized some corporate events for Manpower, and have started working with Eurest and Pfizer. This has translated in a net monthly increase in revenue of $30,000 USD (6%). Mamma Bella has also hired additional personnel and equipment, and have achieved a significant improvement in brand recognition due to the caliber of their customers.
Christy Cook, CEO and Founder
Toronto | Canada
Just months after being certified as a women's business enterprise through WEConnect International, CEO and Founder of Teach My Toddler Inc. Christy Cook can expect to see Walmart put her educational learning toys in 2,000 U.S. stores in spring 2015. The Toronto businesswoman's products will be among the very first to be sold with the new "Women Owned" logo developed by WEConnect International and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council with support from Walmart.
"For us, landing in Walmart U.S.A. is a huge accomplishment," said Cook, "and WEConnect International's certification process was critical to accessing this opportunity."
WEConnect International has been operating in Canada for nearly five years and has certified over 150 companies. Its groundbreaking Seal of Certification Process, recognized by major regional and global corporations such as Walmart, assesses companies' compliance with the universal standards for a women's business enterprise.
Grupo Kuri S.A., Tortillas La Malinche
La Malinche | Jardines de Cascajal | Paso Ancho | San Jose, San Jose | Costa Rica
Grupo Kuri is a company, based in San José, Costa Rica, that produces flour tortillas.
The company became fimilar with WEConnect International at a welcome breakfast organized by Antonina Sequeira and Carolina Giraldo to meet women-owned businesses in Costa Rica. Two weeks after meeting with WEConnect International representatives, the company became certified.
Certification Leads to Contracts!
25mts norte de Cemaco Pavas | 75 mts este casa 19 | San Jose, Pavas | Costa Rica
Certification Leads to Contracts
Bright Solutions, located in San José, Costa Rica, provides publicity and marketing services. After becoming interested in the value of the WEConnect International network of member corporations, and looking to gain new contacts with potential clients, Bright Solutions gained WEConnect International certification.
As a result of becoming a WEConnect International certified business, Bright Solutions has experienced increased sales and revenue because of contracts with Pfizer, Walmart, and Morrjons, as well as WEConnect International certified women's business enterprises. In the future, the company looks to diversify and continue be motivated by increased sales and a growing network.
Mirabelle Mi, Founder
6-601, #1515 Zhangyang Road | Pudong, Shanghai 200120 | +86 21 5049 0660
2-1201, No. 88 Jianguo Road | Chaoyang, Beijing 100004 | +86 8795 3090-811/809
EyezChina Consulting is a registered, full service market entry consulting firm. EyezChina specializes in assisting foreign small and medium-size enterprises enter and adapt to the Chinese marketplace. EyezChina aims to help clients develop their business by analyzing China's market and combining local expertise with a global perspective. The firm is itself a potential capital investor, and leverages its broad network of financial institutions to invest in clients directly, or connect clients with prime investors.
Why WEConnect International Certification?
About Libre Tea
Wendy was inspired to start her company when she was travelling through China and saw everyone drinking their tea on the go. When she saw a bus driver in the chaos of his day, calmly drinking tea out of a giant pickle jar while stopped briefly at an intersection, she was inspired to create "Tea Moments"– moments to stop and connect with ourselves in our busy days so we remember where we are and who we are.
Christina Forth Matthews
About AOG International
AOG International is an International Freight forwarder specializing in Time critical freight service. AOG International has been in business for 9 years and is one of the fastest growing logistics providers in the industry. It is their goal to provide a level of customer service beyond expectation and to become an extension of the business' they work with. Christina attributes the rapid growth of our company to their "people first" core value. We are headquartered in Leduc, Alberta, Canada with offices in the United States and China, along with the best in-class strategic alliances and partnerships worldwide.
WEConnect International Certification Stands Out
Digital Salad provides creative film solutions that capture the essence of a company and its products at affordable costs.
Kate and her two other partners have over 50 years experience working with and delivering to demanding agencies, companies and artists. Their involvement in commercials for top flight companies such as Shell, Ford, RBS and Coca Cola, and having worked closely with a number of the world's most influential directors/producers listing Stephen Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann and David Fincher amongst them, has equipped Kate and her partners to communicate with executives and CEO's looking for solutions, in a proactive manner.
Digital Salad has had a great first year as a WEConnect International Certified WBE. Kate's producer Julie, who runs the USA side of the company, suggested becoming certified. Kate is very selective about associations but says that becoming WEConnect certified "was a great decision for us both in terms of our company development and my building personal relationships."
NovoJuris Services India Pvt Ltd
32, Osborne Road,
Near Lakeside Hospital (This is close to Ulsoor Lake)
Ulsoor,Bangalore 560 042
Sharda Balaji is the founder of NovoJuris, legal counselors, with a special focus on start-ups and SMEs in the technology domain. NovoJuris counts over 300 small and medium business and over 10 investment firms as their customers over the last 3 years. NovoJuris is ranked among India's top 10 active legal counselors in private equity http://www.ventureintelligence.in/leaguelaw-pe.htm.
Moxie Mojo Hotline
Toll-free: 1-888-404-6694 (moxi)
Moxie Trades supplies safety footwear, apparel, and accessories just for women. Moxie Trades CEO and Founder Marissa McTasneyis the model for all the products and she had the idea after her second maternity leave and she decided to pursue a passion. She took a program for women in construction to learn how to build a house and after analyzing the safety-wear market, launched her company.
Before Moxie Trades, women's safety wear was designed for men, with the only difference being they sized down. Marissa took a snapshot of common sense stats, which showed that women were 25% of the workforce but nothing was being designed for them. Moxie Trades addressed this need with footwear designed for women along with apparel and accessories that are cute and stylish.
Duinkerken Foods Inc.
57 Watts Ave
Prince Edward Island
Canada C1E 2B7
Duinkerken Foods Inc. manufactures exceptional gluten-free food products that offer the same delicious taste, texture, and consistency as wheat based products.
From the Seed of Innovation - to Wal-Mart the Largest Retailer in the World!
The Sourcing Team Ltd
8 The Parade
The Sourcing Team is a promotional products company with processes, systems, expertise, and financial stability usually found in larger companies. Bespoke work is the company's specialty and they win business with major clients because of their solid infrastructure and reputation. Robust accreditations and an ability to demonstrate ethical, sustainable, environmental and diversity working practices ensure they are respected as professional as well as creative throughout the industry. This enables them to win major accounts even though they are not one of the largest in their sector. The next step is developing those accounts globally.