WASHINGTON, DC, June 2020 – Many of us around the world have spent the past few months hunkered down, working from home and now we are flowing into the streets in support of justice and equality. Now is the time for leadership to step up for transformational change to rebuild global business for good.
We know that companies and governments proactively investing in supplier diversity and inclusion will reap major dividends as we seek to recover from the global pandemic and systemic inequality. Women-owned businesses are one of the most significant drivers of innovation and job growth in both developed and emerging markets.
However, they are often untapped resources for inclusive growth, which is particularly true for women of color. All of us must now work together to ensure that all women-owned businesses are able to not only contribute but also benefit from business transformation.
The reality is that today women only account for about 1 percent of the global spend on products and services by corporations and governments. In addition, women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets still face a US$1.5 trillion annual credit gap that needs to be closed.
Women currently not only earn less than men but also are less likely to get access to capital for their businesses. In 2018, women received just 2.2 percent of the US$130 billion distributed through venture capital.
When women gain access to finance and their sales increase, they invest in the health, welfare and education not only of their households but also in their communities, yielding measurable prosperity for all.
This is not only the right thing to do morally but good for corporate bottom lines and government policy. If all entrepreneurs had equal opportunities, including access to markets, global GDP could rise by as much as 6 percent, boosting the global economy by US$5 trillion.
I am proud that WEConnect International led the drafting of a new report by the Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses, which recognizes that women entrepreneurs continue to face barriers to success when trying to access both markets and capital.
The report found that for women-owned small and medium sized enterprises to grow and scale, they need both access to markets—large pools of target customers—in which to sell their products and services and access to capital—the cash and financing—needed to survive and thrive.
The Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses is an excellent example of how creative partnerships among leaders in industry can help eliminate barriers and improve access to markets and access to capital in the next ten years by working directly with women business owners as well as financial institutions, non-profits and government agencies committed to inclusive growth.
Later this month, WEConnect International will be bringing together member buyers and certified women-owned businesses from all over the world for our annual International Day on 22 June. Due to the virtual nature of the event, WEConnect International is able to provide greater access than ever before, to networking and business coaching with procurement representatives and women business owners based in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. Lightning Talks will be delivered by expert women business owners and corporate executives who will deliver tips and tricks for adapting to today’s dynamic business environment.
WEConnect International recognizes that engaging women as business owners from the beginning to the end of global value chains is critical now more than ever and the payback is worth trillions of dollars. As businesses work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and learn from the mass protests for justice and equality, know that WEConnect International will continue to help lead the effort to rebuild the global economy for good.
Elizabeth A. Vazquez
CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International
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For details on registering as a Women Owned Business or becoming a certified Women Business Enterprise, please contact Nikki Reid, Director of Certification and Training, firstname.lastname@example.org