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 began with desk research and qualitative research, including surveys to better understand the challenges and opportunities for gender-inclusive sourcing in Bangladesh. The next 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.
Ongoing efforts center around forming the country’s first Supplier Diversity Advisory Council for companies to exchange best practices 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 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.
News and Events
February 2nd marked the launch of a unique in-person training program under the initiative “Corporate Connect: Strengthening Market Access for Women-Owned Businesses”- a technical advisory project implemented by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group and The Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh. This inaugural event was targeted to women business owners of micro, small and medium enterprises in Bangladesh to enhance their supply chain linkages to some of the biggest local and multinational corporations sourcing from Bangladesh.
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.