February 1, 2019


Tokyo – December 5, 2018 – With support from Intel Corporation, Accenture, and Johnson & Johnson, attended by the Minister of Gender Equality, WEConnect International hosted the first-ever conference on Global Supplier Diversity and Inclusion in Japan thanks to support from three of its corporate members: Intel Corporation, Accenture, and Johnson & Johnson. The conference brought together stakeholders committed to women’s economic progress in Japan to share actionable efforts to engage in inclusive sourcing – specifically around how and why large member buyers can utilize the WEConnect International platform to connect with potential suppliers that are women-owned.

Globally, large corporates spend, on average, just 1% with women-owned businesses. WEConnect International works to reduce this gap by identifying, registering, and certifying businesses that are 51% or more women-owned, managed, and controlled. It then connects them to its corporate member buyers, such as Intel, Accenture, and Johnson & Johnson.

“It is so exciting for me to be here today,” said Megan Stowe, International Supplier Diversity and Inclusion/EMEA Procurement Director, Intel Corporation. “Japan is our second largest spend, outside the United States. There is so much potential that is untapped here; there are great opportunities for women today in Japan.”

Indeed, there are great opportunities for women in Japan. Intel set a goal in 2017 to spend $100 million with women-owned businesses globally (including Japan) by 2020. More than a year ahead of schedule, they have reached the $100 million goal and are now doubling their commitment to spend $200 million with women-owned businesses by 2020.

Accenture and Johnson & Johnson are also making large commitments to spend more with women-owned businesses.

“Accenture has been recognized as one of the leading corporations, globally, who are committed to WEConnect International’s work. We are very proud to partner with WEConnect International on the bold commitment of spending $100 million by 2020 with women-owned businesses around the world. With the multi-business supply chain, we can leverage our purchasing power to drive a positive change on a global scale to create a more inclusive digital world,” noted Nedra Dickson, Global Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability Lead, Accenture.

“Johnson & Johnson wants to ensure our supply chain is reflective of our customer base. In 2017 we spent $1.4 billion with diverse suppliers, 51% of which were women-owned businesses. The spend today is heavily centered on the U.S., but we have great ambition to grow this globally,” added Julian Hooks, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, Corporate Tier, Johnson & Johnson

Attendees at the conference included representatives from multinational and domestic corporations, high-level government representatives, support organizations and Japanese women entrepreneurs from a variety of different sectors.

WEConnect International was honored to have the Minister of State for Gender Equality, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment, Ms. Satsuki Katayama attend. In her remarks to the audience, she welcomed WEConnect International to Japan and said, “Some of you are buyers at corporations. Buying from companies in which women are actively participating, as well as companies in which women have the authority on managerial decisions, promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women while creating an opportunity to take advantage of innovative products that were developed from a woman’s perspective. Doing business with a supplier  diversity lens, leads to the growth of your company and brings about a revitalization of the economy.”

Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO & Co-founder of WEConnect International, and Setsu Suzuki, Country Director for WEConnect International in Japan also spoke at the event.

Additional media coverage included: https://www.asahi.com/articles/DA3S13819266.html and https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/nhknewsline/backstories/gendergap/

WEConnect International is a global non-profit committed to connecting women-owned businesses to market opportunities through our member base of more than 80 multinational corporate members who have committed to sourcing more from women’s business enterprises around the globe. Visit our corporate member page to learn more about supplier diversity and inclusion and the importance of buying more from women-owned businesses.

In July of 2018, WEConnect International launched its Women’s Business Enterprise certification in Japan at an event in Tokyo with support from its Corporate Members: Intel Corporation, Accenture, and Johnson & Johnson.

For more information, please contact Edith Cecchini (ECecchini@weconnectinternational.org) or Setsu Suzuki (SSuzuki@weconnectinternational.org) follow us on Facebook or Twitter.