Corporate Connect: Strengthening Market Access for Women Business Owners is a World Bank Group project implemented by WEConnect International that seeks to generate long-term opportunities for women-owned businesses to connect and conduct business with local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh. This project is one of the first in Bangladesh to bring women-owned businesses and corporations together to assess the potential for market linkages and has great promise given the strong retail and wholesale presence of major corporations in the country.
The project began with research that included surveys on the challenges and opportunities for gender-inclusive sourcing in Bangladesh. The next phase provided capacity-building training to more than 150 women entrepreneurs and secured early commitments from corporations to buy more from women-owned businesses. In 2019, the project expanded to engage additional senior corporate representatives and connect them to women-owned businesses under the World Bank’s Bangladesh Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and as part of a global partnership between IFC and WEConnect International.
In February 2020, The World Bank Group and the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh, in collaboration with WEConnect International, hosted the 2020 Conference & Business Fair to bring together women business owners, corporate buyers and association partners to champion the movement for supplier diversity. The more than 180 guests at the event participated in a senior corporate roundtable, a business fair showcasing women-owned goods and services, a business pitch competition,and a meet-the-buyer session.
Ongoing efforts center around the recruitment of local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh to join the supplier diversity movement, and women business owners in Bangladesh to join our network of entrepreneurs and corporate buyers.
VP of Special Projectsecoccia@weconnectinternational.org