WEConnect International in India identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. WEConnect International is the only non-profit connecting women-owned businesses with multi-national corporate purchasing organizations outside of the United States.
WEConnect International in India will hold its annual Think Big Conference in Bangalore, India on September 26-27, 2016.
News and Events
IDRC: Empowering Women-Owned Businesses in India
(May 12, 2016) IDRC support is assisting WEConnect International to develop a searchable database of women-owned businesses in India. This will strengthen WEConnect International’s eNetwork, providing tools for businesses to connect with local suppliers, as well as promoting a wider community of practice.
WEConnect International has helped 600 companies register in the database, and 60 are certified to supply large companies. This has helped generate over US$127 million annually and employ more than 4,600 people across India. The plan is to scale up the model by replicating it in another 17 developing countries.
“With generous support from IDRC, we were able to improve and grow a really powerful database of women-owned businesses in 100 countries,” WEConnect International CEO and co-founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez says.
“The database is important to women around the world,” she adds. “Women who own businesses of all sizes urgently need better access to local and global markets.”
There is a growing list of women-owned businesses in India benefiting from WEConnect International’s ability to connect them with global buyers.
Walmart’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Program Launch Event
(May 11, 2016) Walmart India recently launched their Women Entrepreneurship Development Program -- an initiative to equip women with professional and life skills to build robust businesses, with WEConnect International in India and Vrutti as partners.
This initiative is designed to help women entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of business growth through a training curriculum, which will be delivered through workshops and mentoring sessions with technical experts, established women-owned businesses, academic experts and business managers.
The launch event of the program took place on April 27, 2016 at the Imperial Hotel New Delhi and key highlights include:
- A Panel Discussion on Capacity Building to address challenges in Women Economic Empowerment, moderated by Mr. Parul Soni, Executive Director, WEConnect International in India. The panel consisted of Ms. Lalita Kumaramangalam, Chairperson, National Commission for Women; Ms. Jyotsna Sitling, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Ms. Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, India Representative, UN Women; Mr. Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India; Mr. R. N. Raghunathan, Co-Founder & Director, Vrutti; and Ms. Chayaa Nanjappa Rajappa, Founder, Nectar Fresh (a WEConnect International certified women's business enterprise).
- A candid Q&A with Mr. Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India
- Selected women entrepreneurs displaying their products and interacting with the Walmart procurement team
Follow #WMTWEE on Twitter for more information.
Workshop Wrap-up: Sales and Innovation
(April 28, 2016) The capacity building workshop organized by WEConnect International in India and sponsored by Intel India, was held at MacAfee India office, Bengaluru on April 15, 2016. During the workshop, Ramesh Vemuganti, Independent National Sales trainer, shared American best practices on “Sales and Innovation.” The workshop was attended by 30+ number of women entrepreneurs from various fields.
The session began with a Key Note speech by Anubha Grover, heading Supplier Diversity for Intel India, where she shared Intel’s Supplier Diversity vision 2020: to spend USD 1 billion with diverse suppliers globally by 2020; to develop women-owned businesses through development workshops and mentoring; and to create transparency in diversity spending. Intel also announced that it will sponsor the WEConnect International certification fee for ten women owned businesses based on pre-defined criteria, in India. Furthermore, Intel will explore possibility of funding one women owned business through Intel Capital.
The workshop focused on experiential learning, through the application of relevant case studies. Shrilakshmi Desiraju, Director, Triphase Pharmaceuticals, Pvt Ltd, a self-registered WEConnect International women-owned business shared her story; she was awarded her first business contract by networking through WEConnect International. She highlighted the benefits of WEConnect International and how the organisation provides support at every stage.
During his address to the gathering Venkatasubrahmanyam, Krishnapur, India MIC Head, explained that Intel is working towards diversity in both the workforce and supply chain. He said, “It’s not about quotas but creating a level playing field.”
Nivedita Prasad, Owner Chocolate Philosophy said, “I would like to thank WEConnect International for organizing such a good workshop, it was indeed very interactive and informative where I took away a few ideas for my business. Also want to thank Intel Team for their time and attention given to each one of us and putting all this together. Look forward to many more such workshops.”
Profile: Self-Registered Business Triphase Pharmaceuticals
(April 20, 2016) We Are The City recently shared a profile on Dr. Shrilakshmi Desiraju, Founder of the self-registered women-owned business Triphase Pharmaceuticals pvt.ltd. The profile highlights Shrilakshmi’s path to entrepreneurship, what inspires her, and her hopes for the future.
Brickwork India Honored by Enterprise Asia
(April 6, 2016) Sangeeta Kulkarni, Co-founder & CEO of certified women’s business enterprise Brickwork India, has been presented with the “Most Promising Entrepreneur” award by Enterprise Asia, at a grand event held at the JW Marriott, New Delhi, India. The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award recognizes Sangeeta’s outstanding strategic vision and direction in transforming Brickwork India into a global leader in Remote Executive Assistance (REA™) services.
Sangeeta has taken a five-member start-up to a 350 strong workforce, with a concentrated focus on business excellence. Revenue growth has been over 500% in the past six years, a big achievement for a business that is highly personalized, complex, diverse and demanding. Brick-by-brick, she built a global brand, catering to the diverse service requirements of clients located across 116 countries by implementing innovative business an people practices and strongly leveraging process and technology.
Report: Growing Women-Owned Businesses in India"
In early 2015, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) awarded a CA$560,000 grant to WEConnect International in support of its new project, “Growing Women-Owned Businesses in India by Building on Private Sector Initiatives.” The project leverages the signifi cant investments made by WEConnect International corporate members in the development of a searchable database of women’s business enterprises based in India and in 95 other countries.
With the support of IDRC, WEConnect International was able to collect data on the India-based women’s business enterprises certifi ed and registered in the eNetwork. Data points included revenues for each company for each year as collected in assessments; number of employees; legal incorporation status; the most popular banks; access to lines of credit; and market focus. The research is clear—WEConnect International women’s business enterprises think big, but also face obstacles to reaching their full potential.
"O! Success So Sweet!"
The following article appeared on TheDollarBusiness.com in March 2016.
Chayaa’s single-minded efforts have established her honey brand – Nectar Fresh – in a highly quality-conscious premium segment. While serving high-end hotels and resorts, she (her brand) has created employment and better earning opportunities for tribals and marginal farmers. In fact, she has come a long way since the launch of the brand in 2007, and now she receives orders from importers from different parts of the world who want to buy honey from her company. She is also hopeful that Nectar Fresh products will soon be decked up at Walmart stores.
WEConnect International in India to Partner with eMERG
Registered under the Societies Act, eMERG is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 as the brain child of seven enterprising women to provide a platform for networking with women in technology, business and services. eMERG’s members are enterprising women entrepreneurs, managers and professionals who offer products, services and their expertise in the technology and services sectors.
eMERG supports women entrepreneurs, managers and professionals and their businesses by working together professionally, being innovative, exploring synergies, and growing globally and sharing their experience for the benefit of society
Some of their key activities are mentoring for women entrepreneurs, running a computer literacy centre, training and job readiness for youth, and supplier diversity programs
Please visit www.emergindia.com
Invest Karnataka a Success
Invest Karnataka aimed to create a platform for the best minds to meet, exchange ideas and drive forward the state's vision of prosperity for all - by employing technology, innovation, inclusivity and sustainability as key factors for development. The meeting was held February 3-5, 2016.
Over the years, Invest Karnataka has come to signify successful partnerships, comprehensive and sustained developments. In this edition as well, the event was attended by visionary leaders and global corporations to explore opportunities in Karnataka. The three day event included focused sectoral, theme and partner country seminars and attracted domestic and global stakeholders.
Read more about WEConnect International’s involvement in the event.
EVENT: Connect, Correlate and Collaborate
Invest Karnataka - 3rd to 5th February 2016, The Bangalore Palace, Bangalore (India)
IK aims to create a platform for the best minds to meet, exchange ideas and drive forward the state's vision of prosperity for all - by employing technology, innovation, inclusivity and sustainability as key factors for development. The Meet, scheduled from 3rd to 5th February 2016, is another step in this direction. Highlight of the three days event is :
• Sectoral sessions
• Partner country and state sessions
• B2B and B2G networking opportunities
To join, please click here!
(28 January 2016) WECI recently partnered with GurgaonMoms, a WBE based out of Gurgaon, Haryana. The collaboration aims to focus on mompreneurs in 2016!
To find out more about this organization, please click here!
WEConnect International in India to Partner with AWAKE
As part of its ongoing endeavour towards connecting women's business enterprises with market opportunity, WEConnect International in India will partner with AWAKE (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka) – a non-prfofit organization devoted to entrepreneurship development among women both in rural and urban areas of India. AWAKE will reach out to more women and inspire entrepreneurs who will become role models worldwide.
AWAKE was established in December 1983 in Bangalore by seven successful women entrepreneurs – Ms. Madhura Chatrapathy, Ms. Kiran Majumdar, Ms. Lekha Chand, Ms. Shandrila Naidu, Ms. Indrajeet Sahani, Ms. Aban Minochar and Ms. Supanya Datta who got together with the vision to build a strong force of women entrepreneurs in India and has a ever-growing base of affiliations.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE: Think Big 2015 | 9 October 2015 | Delhi, India
Think Big: Women in Business Forum is a unique platform for women business owners. The third annual Think Big: Women in Business Forum was held on 9 October 2015 at Hyatt Regency Delhi, where 400 participants, including women entrepreneurs, corporate buyers, industry mentors, investors, and media came together. Notable speakers included Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia, India; Srikant Rao, Managing Director - Procurement, Asia Pacific, Accenture; and Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel Network. Think Big 2014 brought delegates from 5 countries and 10 cities across India for inspiring experience sessions, business skill training workshops, business meetings, and peer learning.
WORKSHOP: How to Become a Supplier to Walmart
On April 14, 2015, Walmart hosted a "Doing Business with Walmart" event at its offices in Gurgaon. Speakers included Executive Director of WEConnect International in India Sucharita Eashwar and Walmart representatives Jenny Grieser, Kara Vallikai, Rajneesh Kumar, and Sunita Patnaik.
Twenty-three women entrepreneurs attended the session. There was a lot of interaction in the room, and it was quite evident that the women's business enterprises (WBEs) found the session useful. One woman business owner said:
"I congratulate you and team WEConnect for the excellent initiative taken in yesterday’s program to bring Walmart and potential WBEs together. I am very excited to be associated with WEConnect International in India, and I am confident my business will gain a lot by this partnership."
In Conjunction with the WBENC National Conference, WEConnect International Presents International Day 2015
Date: Monday, June 22, 2015
Location: Austin, TX
If your company is interested in the U.S. Market, seeks international business relationships, or wants to grow and expand, please join us for WEConnect International Day!
You will leave the conference with:
- New contacts from potential business clients and partners
- Stronger relationships with women business owners and corporate members in the WEConnect International network
- Advanced knowledge, tools, and resources for leveraging the contacts and your network for future business success
Please Note: This event is a by invitation only event. Anyone who registers is subject to verification and only a written confirmation from WEConnect International will be accepted at the door. Guests whom are not invited by WEConnect International will be put on a wait list to be confirmed a week prior to the event based on space availability.
Register now for International Day and for the WBENC National Conference.
IDRC Awards Grant to WEConnect International to Empower Women Entrepreneurs in India
For Immediate Release
(March 3, 2015 – Washington) Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) today announced a CA$560,000 grant to WEConnect International in support of its new project, “Growing Women-Owned Businesses in India by Building on Private Sector Initiatives.” The project will leverage the significant investments made by WEConnect International corporate members to develop a searchable database of women-owned businesses in India and in more than 80 other countries.
“We are very grateful for IDRC’s leadership and support,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International. “In our short five-year history, WEConnect International has played a key role in women’s economic empowerment on the ground in nearly 20 major markets. This grant will help build the ecosystem women-owned businesses require for sustainable and inclusive growth.”
EXCLUSIVE WORKSHOP: How to the Leverage the WEConnect Network
All WEConnect International Certified and Self-Registered Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) in India are invited to a workshop on “How to leverage the WEConnect International Network.”
We will start with a briefing by Executive Director of WEConnect International in India Sucharita Eashwar on the WEConnect eNetwork and the opportunities it offers - both locally and globally. Then, certified entrepreneurs will share how they concretely use WEConnect International to find partners, customers, distributors, investors, develop their own business skills – and not to forget, make friends!
You will hear the inside stories and learn from the experience of certified business owners including:
• Anshul Verma, CEO, TE Infotech
• Kamala Raghunath, Founder, Giftlinks
• Poornima Janakiram, Founder, Aries Arts
• and other successful business owners.
Learn how their certification has helped them grow, gain visibility and open doors, resulting in quantum growth for their businesses and them personally.
NOTE: This workshop is only for WEConnect International Certified and Self-Registered WBEs.
Date: Friday, 13 March 2015
Time: 3pm to 6pm (includes tea, snacks and networking)
Venue: Boardroom, WEConnect India Office, 3rd Floor, Ginserv Building (Behind Hotel Leela Palace), Kodihalli, Bangalore
• Free for WEConnect International Certified Businesses (and those in process)
• Rs. 250 for WEConnect Self Registered Businesses.
Deadline for Registration: 10 March
Click HERE to register
Have questions? Please call Sunitha Prasad at 99724 70000.
Job Opening: Program Associate, WEConnect International in India
Location: Bangalore, India
Job Description: The WEConnect International India Program Associate will work closely with the MD and India Head of Women’s Enterprise Development and provide effective support to advance WEConnect International’s mission and agenda in India. Entrepreneurial initiative, customer orientation, communication skills and attention to detail would be key aspects of the successful candidate.
The due date for applications is 28 February 2015.
"When Woman Entrepreneurs Had Their Day -- And Their Say!"
An Exerpt from the December 2014 issue of SME Times India:
"It was the big boost for the increasing number of woman entrepreneurs of the State. The Women Entrepreneurs Day recently celebreated with flourish under the auspices of the Karnataka Government itself.
It was decided that a core group should meet once in two months to work on the strategies for a road map for women entrepreneurs and its implementation.
The number of participants itself spoke of the positive response by women entrepreneurs. As many as 300 of them from various areas of industry participated in the event which marked international woman's entrepreneurship day...
The UN itiative to recognize and foster growth among women has been followed up by Karnataka with measures like sensitization of banks, skill development, industrial parks with creche faciities, transport..."
"No Country for Women Entrepreneurs"
From the Times of India, December 21, 2014
"WEConnect International, which set up its India operations in 2012, connects women-centric enterprises it certifies to multinational corporate members like IBM or Accenture. Sucharita Shome Eashwar, India head, explains, 'To be eligible for certification, women must hold a majority stake in the enterprise (51% or more) and be decision-makers in the enterprise (hold post of CEO or MD). We also prefer enterprises that have completed at least one year of operation.'
'In 2013, IBM spent over Rs 300 crore with diverse suppliers across India, of which more than Rs 100 crore was spent with women-owned suppliers. We expect year-to- year growth,' says Suhaib Sajid, who leads IBM’s sup-plier diversity program in Asia-Pacific. Srikant Rao, MD-Procurement Asia-Pacific at Accenture, believes having a diverse supplier chain which includes women entrepreneurs is also a good commercial decision."
New Report: Governance Observer – The changing face of corporate boardrooms | Volume 2
In this year’s edition of the Governance Observer, Grant Thorton India LLP takes a closer look at the structure of corporate boards of India’s top 150 companies by market capitalization. The study provides several key insights, which would be useful to companies in structuring and managing their boards. The report will also enable regulators identify the extent to which India Inc is complying with the corporate governance norms in line with the Companies Act, 2013 and the Revised Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement.
WEConnect International in India Invited Women in Business to Think Big at Annual Forum
WEConnect International in India held its second Think Big Women in Business Forum on September 11-12, 2014, at the Ritz Carlton Bangalore. The event provided women business owners with an opportunity to develop their professional skills, expand their networks, and meet potential buyers, investors, and industry mentors. A total of 450 delegates attended the event with participants coming from 12 cities across India – Bangalore, Bidar, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Hubli, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Mysore, and Varanasi, and from four countries – Singapore, UK, USA, and Vietnam.
Through the 2014 Think Big Forum, WEConnect International in India empowered and prepared women business owners to scale up and reach new market opportunities. Participants learned from a number of women entrepreneurs who shared their stories of success, and many leveraged certification and self-registration to make connections with corporate buyers. During the forum, corporate member IBM announced its goal to procure $35-60 Million from women business owners in India, while Accenture, Intel, Marriott, and Walmart committed to buying more from women vendors.
Thank you to the generous sponsors of Think Big 2014: Accenture, IBM, Intel, the Rockefeller Foundation, certified women-owned business SuperSeva, the Walmart Foundation, and certified women-owned business Welspun. Thank you also to our partners: ALEAP, Bizdivas, Bristlecone, COWE, EMERG, eWIT, FKCCI, Her Entrepreneur Network, IIM Bangalore- NSRCEL, MAWE, Management Next, National Entrepreneurship Network, OCC, Pink Lemonade, Sheroes, TiE Bangalore, and TiE Chennai.
WEConnect International India meets with Jennifer McIntyre, US Consul General in Chennai
March 28, 2014 - Sucharita Eashwar, Executive Director of WEConnect International for India, joined a group of women entrepreneurs and leaders for a special meeting with Jennifer McIntyre, US Consul General in Chennai.
During the gathering, Consul General McIntyre acknowledged the work done by the participants and reaffirmed the US State Department’s continued support for women’s economic empowerment in India and South Asia.
WEConnect International India welcomes First Lady of Canada
WEConnect International welcomed Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, First Lady of Canada, during the dignitary’s recent visit to India.
Sucharita Eashwar, Executive Director of WEConnect International’s India initiative, and her team hosted Her Excellency at the offices of YourStory, a WEConnect International certified business, in Bangalore on January 27th.
“Her Excellency Sharon Johnston’s visit was an invaluable experience. We benefited from her business advice and briefed her on the women entrepreneurship scenario in India, our challenges as well as our successes,” Eashwar said.
The program, introduced by YourStory’s CEO Shradha Sharma, featured a panel discussion on women business owners. Additionally, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston had the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with a group of the 25 women business owners, 15 of whom are part of the WEConnect International network.
The session ended with Eashwar proposing a future visit to India by a delegation of Canadian women business owners.
Photos: Top left: Panelists (left to right) - Jeeva Anna George (Founder, Glutenfreeliv.in), Her Excellency, Sucharita Eashwar (MD, WEConnect International, India), Uma Reddy (MD, Hitech Magnetics & Electronics) & Revathy Ashok (Director, Iris Consulting); Top right: WEConnect entrepreneurs welcoming Her Excellency, Sharon Johnston; Bottom left: WEConnect India entrepreneurs with Her Excellency; Bottom right: Sucharita Eashwar in conversation with Her Excellency, Sharon Johnston.
Press Review | Think Big 2014 Forum
The Times of India | Big companies look to buy from women entrepreneurs
Supporters and Partners
Executive Director of WEConnect International in India
Contact for Certification and Self-Registration Information