CORPORATE CONNECT: STRENGTHENING MARKET ACCESS FOR WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS IN BANGLADESH

This World Bank Group project aims to create sustainable market linkages between women-owned businesses and local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh. WEConnect International is the project implementing partner. In its pilot period, the project engaged over 70 corporations and 200 women entrepreneurs to increase  Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I) in Bangladesh.

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.

Over the next three years, with the support of We-Fi, the World Bank Group will scale the project and partner with local organizations to provide supplier development training to women-owned businesses, create a database of women-owned businesses, and partner with WEConnect International to connect them to each other and to corporations.

Engage Corporations to Become Supplier Diversity Champions and Change-Makers

Develop Capacity of Women-Owned Businesses to Become Suppliers

Connect Women-Owned Suppliers with Corporate Buyers

500
buyer-supplier connections made

166
women business owners participated in training programs

13
representatives of local and multinational companies engaged to deliver workshops

16
SD&I letters signed by senior corporate leaders

10
SD&I activities implemented by five local companies

20
contracts won by women-owned businesses

PROGRESS TO DATE

Jan – Dec 2018 – Initial market research and awareness-raising among corporations and women-owned businesses.

January 2019 – Online training launched for 100+ women-owned businesses.

February 2019 – In-person training on business growth and procurement processes delivered to 50 + women-owned businesses.

March 2019 – Forum held to connect women-owned businesses to corporations.

September 2019 – Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee launched with 5 local and 2 international corporations to implement corporate-specific Supplier Diversity and Inclusion goals.

Nov – Dec 2019 – In-depth business pitch training delivered to growth-oriented women-owned businesses.

February 2020 – Corporate Connect 2020 Conference & Business Fair.

 

CORPORATE PARTNERS

In Bangladesh, 16 corporate partners have signed pledge letters to commit to sourcing more goods and services from women-owned businesses. Five local and two international corporations have joined forces together to launch the country’s first Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee.

Below are testimonials of what the project means to some of our corporate partners:

Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, Deputy Manager, Sustainability, DBL Group

 “One of my procurement colleagues has connected me with 2 women business owners. This is a really inspiring program.”

 Abu Raihan Bhuiyan Albarune, General Manager, Supply Chain, Meena Bazar, Gemcon Group

“From the procurement side, there should be a database where corporations can indicate the kind of services that we need…Women business owners also need to know how things work from the demand side of the business (in procurement, supply chain departments, etc.)”

Ariful Haque, Senior Procurement Manager, BRAC Bank

 “I trained a few women business owners to use BRAC Bank’s online bidding portal so that they can submit bids for their products/suppliers to the corporates without any challenges”

 

GET INVOLVED

Join the supplier diversity movement for Bangladesh! Here are a few ways you can get involved with the project:

Watch testimonials from women business owners and corporate buyers.