Washington, D.C.
May 31, 2023

SD&I Positively Changes Global Economies

By Dan Holdredge, Ixchel Alcantara, and Marta Blanco


WEConnect International works at creating conditions where women and men participate equally as entrepreneurs in global economies and together drive gender-inclusive sourcing best practices.

Did You Know?
When women and men participate equally as entrepreneurs it could boost the global gross domestic product (GDP).  The BCG calculates that it could raise it by 3% – 6%, which translates into boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion.  (Want to Boost the Global Economy by $5 Trillion? Support Women as Entrepreneurs (bcg.com))

WEConnect International and its partners engaged with global corporate buyers in Central and South America who had the opportunity to learn about supplier diversity and inclusion, specifically gender-inclusive sourcing, mostly for the first time.  Within 15 months, those who completed the program reported an average increase of 4.5% in spend with women-owned businesses (WOBs).

How Did This Happen?
Awareness is the first step toward action.

On the Women Entrepreneurs Aspire, Activate, and Accelerate (We3A) project, WEConnect International worked with Arizona State University and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in reaching buyers in six countries throughout Central and South America: Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, and Honduras.

A focused campaign was conducted in the targeted countries with research studies, round table discussions, surveys, ecosystem mapping activities, and media messaging. The purpose was to drive awareness and educate stakeholders about the business case for buying from WOBs and to encourage WOBs in the region to think big and while having the chance to gain access to new supply chains.  The results were remarkable:

  • 2M+ interactions from 23M+ impressions (Social Media Promotions)
  • 2000+ reached in educational events
  • 95,000+ downloads from one article alone in the publication of numerous research articles
  • 250+ corporate buyers were engaged
  • 200+ WOBs accessible to buyers
  • 30% increase in followers on social media (WEConnect International)

Following this major increase in awareness, we ramped up our training efforts.  Capacity building is the next step towards action.

By training hundreds of corporate procurement leaders with a three-session blended learning program, WEConnect International set out to:

  • Reach buying organizations and bring awareness to supplier diversity and inclusion (SD&I) needs.
  • Assist in creating a specific SD&I business case with a focus on gender-inclusive sourcing.
  • Take actionable steps to increase their supply chain with diverse suppliers.
  • And ultimately, increase the number of contracts and the amount of spend with women-owned businesses.

At the conclusion of the program, 75% of the corporate buyers took at least five (5) actions to establish their SD&I programs.  The top actions taken were:

  1. Developing a personalized SD&I Business Case
  2. Identifying and obtaining support from senior-level sponsors and ambassadors
  3. Identifying WOBs already in their supply chain and establishing baselines and goals
  4. Including at least one diverse supplier in all their RFP and contract opportunities

The impact of taking action positively resulted in change.

The 4.5% increase in spend with WOBs will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars going to the hands of women-owned businesses.   And we know that by investing in WOBs it will create more jobs, build local economies, and reduce poverty.

To learn more about supplier diversity and inclusion and specifically targeting gender-inclusive sourcing practices enroll in our latest eLearning course – SD&I: Strengthening Your Supply Chain.