On May 22nd, 2019, WEConnect International partnered with the Emerging Markets Institute at INSEAD to host an inaugural Supplier Diversity Forum in Singapore.
The morning focused on demystifying supplier diversity for large procurement organizations. Topics included the business case for women's economic empowerment, led by WEConnect International, charting a successful supplier diversity strategy in Asia, led by Johnson & Johnson, building a holistic gender diversity program, led by P&G, and leveraging supplier diversity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, led by Sodexo. One of the highlights included a research presentation by a women business enterprise, Optimal Cost, on the key challenges that small and medium enterprises in Singapore faced while working with corporate buyers. The post-presentation discussions were extremely interactive and attendees left the session with several concrete and collaborative solutions to key challenges raised by each of the speakers.
Representatives of over 30 women-owned businesses also had the opportunity to pitch to buyers from 14 large procurement organizations over a networking lunch and later opportunities to partner with each other for amplified impact. Throughout the day, several successful connections established.
The afternoon sessions focused on capacity building for women-owned businesses and provided useful tools to scale your business, led by BlackStorm Consulting, leverage marketing to set yourself for success, led by Lime Agency, and using blockchain to accelerate processes, led by Kommerce. The post-break panel brought together key stakeholders from across sectors to discuss innovative ways to work together to implement policies and programs that help women start and grow businesses. This session was unique as an official satellite event of Women Deliver, the world's largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women, in partnership with the High Commission of Canada in Singapore.
Key takeaways from the event included the need for more forums like this one that brought buyers and suppliers together to jointly build a path towards a more gender equal supply chain.