July 13, 2020


WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2020 – WEConnect International is excited to welcome five new major member buyers during its third quarter, CEO and Co-Founder, Elizabeth A. Vazquez announced today.

Globally, there are approximately 224 million women entrepreneurs who participate in the ownership of nearly 35 percent of privately-owned firms in the formal economy. WEConnect International connects its network of women-owned business suppliers based in over 120 countries with very large member buyers of goods and services that are committed to inclusive sourcing.

“COVID-19 has rocked the global economy,” said Michael Tobolski, Vice President of Member Development at WEConnect International. “Despite these ongoing challenges, these corporate powerhouses have committed to supplier diversity and inclusion. Joining WEConnect International will enable them to identify and find suppliers from our more than 10,000 registered women-owned businesses.” WEConnect International’s new corporate members are:


Olam International Limited is a leading food and agri-business based in Singapore. Olam International operates in 60 countries supplying food and industrial raw materials to over 19,800 customers worldwide. As well as growing crops and sourcing from around 5 million farmers globally, the company operates over 180 processing facilities. Olam is among the world’s largest suppliers of cocoa, coffee, cotton, rice, and spices.

Standard Chartered Bank is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London that has joined as a Global Member. It operates more than 1,200 branches across more than 70 countries and employs around 87,000 people. Despite its UK base, it does not conduct retail banking in the UK, and around 90% of its profits come from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is a Japanese multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company. It is the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia and one of the top 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by revenue. The company has over 49,578 employees worldwide and achieved over US$19 billion in revenue during the 2018 fiscal year.


Export Development Canada (EDC) is a Crown corporation and as international risk experts, EDC equips Canadian companies with trade knowledge, financial solutions, equity, insurance, and connections to grow their business with confidence. EDC has been a supportive partner of many WEConnect International events. EDC joined as a Market Member in Canada.

Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the United States by revenue and the second-largest general retailer. With nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states, it has annual sales of more than US$121 billion. Kroger fosters the promotion, growth, and development of minorities, women, and other diverse owned enterprises. Kroger joined as a Market Member in Canada.

Piotr Teodorczyk, Head of Global Procurement for Olam International Limited, said his company is globally committed to ensuring gender equality throughout its value chain – from their farms to its processing units, offices, and senior management. “A procurement, sourcing or supply chain function is only as strong as its supplier base,” he said. “This membership will positively support relationships with vendors for the better. We want to be viewed as a company that strongly values diversity.”

Women account for over $20 trillion in spending per year and are involved in over 80 percent of consumer purchasing decisions worldwide.  However, women-owned businesses earn less than1 percent of global spend on vendors by large corporations and governments. WEConnect International was created to move that needle above 1 percent generating market access for women business suppliers to sell their goods and services to large qualified buyers around the world.


For more information or media interviews, please contact, Angela Walker, VP of Communications, at awalker@weconnectinternational.org or +1-202-446-8840.

For corporate membership, contact Michael Tobolski, VP of Member Development, mtobolski@weconnectinternational.org, or online.

For details on Registering Your Women-Owned Business or becoming a certified Women Business Enterprise, please contact Nikki Reid, Director of Certification and Training, nreid@weconnectinternational.org