April 23, 2019


MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 23, 2019 – Today Walmart Canada and WEConnect International hosted the first WEConnect International Supplier Forum in celebration of Canadian women-owned enterprises.

Taking place at Walmart’s Store Support Centre in Mississauga, ON, the Forum featured presentations from Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International, Lee Tappenden, President and CEO of Walmart Canada and Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Walmart Inc.

The Supplier Forum was attended by more than 100 Canadian women entrepreneurs and featured inspiring presentations, network opportunities, and an interactive business pitch session where women-owned enterprises delivered 90-second-long pitches to Walmart buyers.

“Supporting, celebrating and recognizing diversity, inclusion and gender equality within our organization and in our supply chain is an integral part of who we are as a company,” said Lee Tappenden, President and CEO, Walmart Canada. “We are proud to host the first WEConnect International Supplier Forum in Canada and to champion women-owned businesses. We hope this forum will help inspire other retailers to support the growth of women’s entrepreneurship across Canada.”

The Forum builds on Walmart’s history of supporting women’s economic empowerment. In 2010, Walmart Canada launched its Women in Retail program aimed at helping women advance in their careers by providing a network of support and mentorship. Today, 29 percent of Walmart Canada’s Store Managers and 50 percent of Assistant Managers are female. Due to the program’s success, The Women in Retail program has been expanded to 10 global Walmart markets including Africa, Argentina, Japan, and China.

In September 2011, Walmart International launched the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative aimed at improving the lives of women around the world by providing more training, market access, and career opportunities.

“As a founding member of WEConnect International, Walmart continues to serve as a leader in global gender-inclusive sourcing and supplier development,” says WEConnect International CEO & Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez. “As our global network celebrates its 10-year milestone, initiatives like today’s Supplier Forum are more crucial than ever. By increasing the capacity of women suppliers to compete and win new business, our members are actively working to shape the next decade of women’s economic participation in Canada and beyond.”

WEConnect International supports women’s business enterprises across Canada and over 100 countries around the world. Established in 2009, WEConnect International is the only global non-profit organization working with an alliance of more than 80 multinational corporations to identify, educate, and certify women-owned businesses based outside of the USA, and connect them to global market-access opportunity.

About Walmart Canada:
Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving more than 1.2 million customers each day. Walmart Canada’s flagship online store, Walmart.ca is visited by more than 750,000 customers daily. With more than 85,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada’s largest employers and is ranked one of the country’s top 10 most influential brands. Walmart Canada’s extensive philanthropy program is focused on supporting Canadian families in need, and since 1994 Walmart Canada has raised and donated more than $350 million to Canadian charities. Additional information can be found at walmartcanada.cafacebook.com/walmartcanada and at twitter.com/walmartcanada.

About WEConnect International:
WEConnect International is a corporate-led, global non-profit organization that helps women-owned businesses, in over 100 countries, succeed in global value chains. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside of the U.S.A and then connects them with large buyers.  WEConnect International members represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power and a commitment to supplier development and inclusive sourcing. Learn more about our global movement at www.weconnectinternational.org.

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Media contacts:

Sarah Priddy, Communications & Event Manager, WEConnect International

spriddy@weconnectinternational.org | 202-810-6016

Anika Malik, Director Corporate Affairs, Walmart Canada

Anika.malik@walmart.com | 416-562-8193