On February 22nd, 2019, over 200 women business owners, corporate representatives, and delegates from the US Embassy and South African government convened together to celebrate female entrepreneurship and the opportunities for collaboration to drive business growth with WEConnect International. The event was the 4th WEConnect International in South Africa Annual Conference, hosted by EY, in Sandton, Johannesburg.
WEConnect International corporate members EY, ExxonMobil, Absa, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, IBM, P&G, Cummins, Dell, and Coca Cola were present to showcase their support and passion for gender-inclusive sourcing. In addition to the corporate sponsorship that helped make the event possible, many women suppliers in the network were featured throughout the conference. One WEConnect International Certified Women’s Business Enterprise, Liyema Consulting, went a step further to join as an event sponsor, showcasing the ability to truly take their interaction in the WEConnect International network full-circle.
The program was expertly moderated by Iman Rappetti, a well-known South African journalist and public speaker who brought humor and passion to the day’s agenda. Chief Operating Officer Val Davies of corporate host EY provided the event’s welcome remarks and WEConnect International CEO & Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez gave an overview of the work being done globally to support female entrepreneurs. Other speakers included Leah Manenzhe, Acting CEO of Gauteng Enterprise Propeller and Pamela Ward, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Regional Senior Commercial Officer – Sub-Saharan Africa.
The rest of the day’s program was filled with interactive discussions, feedback sessions, and presentations from a variety of different stakeholders and leaders in the global supplier diversity and inclusion space. Some of the key highlights included:
The conference served as a perfect capstone to a week of exciting events that showcased WEConnect International in South Africa’s ability to continue growing a regional and global network that works to connect women business enterprises to market-access opportunity. Learn more about the pre-conference events hosted throughout the week: