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Washington, DC
May 9, 2022

Power of Connections in the Global Value Chain — By Saritha Venumbaka

Dear Women Business Owners,

The past two years was a period in which your resilience and fortitude might have been tested again and again. These were the times, when we looked out towards the horizon and wished we had the answers to all our business challenges. Or even the ability to talk to someone who may have ideas to resolve or deal with similar challenges. This is probably a moment when only if we had someone to call– right now! Someone with similar experience if not the same background or business. And then the realization “I wish I had spent more time building connections.”

If you have felt or feeling this way, you are not alone!

It takes courage and confidence for a woman to start a business–but it takes an entire ecosystem to grow and sustain the business. In an ecosystem in nature, all components or players are linked, reinforcing each other through beneficial action. This complex ecosystem is comprised of buyers and sellers that have conflicting challenges and yet are dependent upon each other with the need to connect as a primary trigger for flow of goods, services and money through the value chain. These connections are imperative to shape and influence market dynamics.

To create meaningful connections, requires a disciplined approach:

  • Search for Commonality: It can be very difficult to find likeminded entrepreneur groups dealing with the unique challenges facing women-owned businesses, so do your research.
  • Join an Exclusive Club Focused on Women-Owned Businesses: Only women business owners truly understand each other having personal experience with the challenges, obstacles and opportunities faced by one-third of the worlds businesses (women-owned).
  • Check Out Mentoring Opportunities: Women helping each other, learning from each other and even working together and contracting with each other is a key differentiator for groups best suited to help women business owners.
  • Validate Relevant Networking Connections: Meeting with actual buyers looking for new sources of creativity, innovation, agility and quality competitive products and services to then eventually compete for business helps to demystify procurement processes and supplier requirements.
  • Make Sure You Have Shared Values: Participating in a safe, knowledge-sharing community of women with shared values helps boost confidence in each women business owner to reach her potential.
  • Confirm Direct Business Benefits: Realizing likeminded connections enables problem-solving for even the toughest challenges, increases business opportunities and, ultimately, drives business transactions—all helping to increase social capital.

Look no further! There is one such organization that supports the above criteria. WEConnect International, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization was co-founded by Elizabeth A. Vazquez, to facilitate and support buyer and seller connections that would not have happened otherwise. While other organizations specialize in creating opportunities to network broadly, WEConnect International focuses very specifically on connecting corporations, governments and multilateral institutions interested in meeting and contracting with diverse suppliers and sellers that have been certified as 51% owned, managed and operated by a woman.

As the Chief Operating Officer of WEConnect International, I have witnessed how connections between women businesses and between our member buyers and women businesses have transformed the lives of a multitude of communities. Because we know that when the world invests in women businesses, communities are positively impacted and triggers its own eco system. With over 150 member buyers and 15,000 women-owned businesses in 130 countries around the world, we drive money into the hands of women business owners by enabling them to compete in the global marketplace.

The pandemic has made gathering and networking even more difficult, which can lead to less creativity and more group think. You may be less inclined to push your limits and take risks and pivot when that may be what’s needed now. Meaningful connections don’t happen on their own, only you can create them and why wait for another day!

Join WEConnect International today by registering here. And did I tell you that it is free?!!!

And when the sun rises, which it always does, you will no longer wish you had a connection but rather be connected!

Yours in the Power of Connection,

Saritha