Corporate Connect: Strengthening Market Access for Women-Owned Businesses is an International Finance Corporation 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 first phase of the project consisted of desk research and qualitative research, including surveys to better understand the challenges and opportunities for gender-inclusive sourcing in Bangladesh. The second phase provided capacity building training to over 150 women entrepreneurs and secured early commitments from corporations to buy more from women-owned businesses. In March 2019, a Forum was organized to discuss the potential for supplier diversity in Bangladesh and to connect corporate buyers to promising, growth-oriented women-owned businesses via networking sessions.
In the third and final phase of the project, the country’s first supplier diversity advisory council will be created for companies to exchange best practices with leading corporations and to better understand how working with women suppliers contributes to the bottom line and to increased productivity and innovation. A large supplier diversity conference will be held at the end of 2019 to showcase the project’s successes, invite more companies to join the supplier diversity movement, and to provide opportunities for women-owned businesses to access finance and make new business connections.
Are you a woman-owned, legally registered business operating in Bangladesh? You can apply to self-register your business on the WEConnect International platform. More information here.
A discussion titled ‘Women in Business: Dhaka Roundtable on Strengthening Market Access and Integration into Corporate Value Chains’ was held at Amari Hotel in Dhaka.
Senior executives and managers from national and international corporations, women business owners of micro, small and medium enterprises, business associations, NGOs, donor agencies and high-level government officials from the Ministry of Commerce, including Secretary Shubhashish, attended the program.
A roundtable discussion (RTD) on Strengthening Market Access for Women Business Owners took place at the office of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) on January 22nd, 2018. The event discussed how Women Business Enterprises (WBE) in Bangladesh can be connected with the buyers around the world who procures goods of trillions of dollars each year.