Washington, D.C., November 20, 2018—WEConnect International is excited to announce its partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to promote market-access opportunity from women-owned enterprises in emerging markets, with a particular focus on Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement will focus on establishing links between access to supply chain finance and access to markets, as well as increasing the overall number of corporations that source goods and services from women-owned businesses. WEConnect International will work with IFC to initiate best practice sharing and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for corporations seeking to start or expand their global supplier diversity and inclusive sourcing efforts. The IFC-WEConnect International partnership is financed by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi.
Gender-inclusive sourcing is a key strategy for corporations seeking to promote innovation, boost competition, and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base. Yet, while women make or influence the vast majority of purchasing decisions worldwide, women-owned businesses earn less than one percent of the money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments.
“We know that women entrepreneurs have formidable yet often untapped ability to contribute to economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction,” says WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez. “WEConnect International is excited to work with the IFC to help close the gap in gender-inclusive sourcing and leverage over a trillion dollars in corporate spend to get more money into the hands of women suppliers of products and services.”
In 2017, WEConnect International members spent over $2.4 billion with women-owned suppliers based outside of the U.S. WEConnect International and its member buyers are committed to increasing this number year over year.
A corporate-led, global non-profit, WEConnect International works with an alliance of over 80 multinational corporations that have committed to sourcing more products and services from women-owned businesses based in over 100 countries. Member buyers collectively represent over $1 trillion in annual purchasing power. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside of the U.S. that are at least 51% owned, as well as managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with large buyers.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. IFC works with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using their capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, they delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative partnership among 14 governments (Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States), eight multilateral development banks and other public and private stakeholders. Housed in the World Bank Group, We-Fi seeks to unlock billions of dollars in financing to tackle the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while strengthening policy and legal and regulatory frameworks. For more information, visit www.we-fi.org.