WEConnect International in South Africa held its third matchmaking event this year on August 15, 2017. Hosted by EY, the event brought together eight corporate representatives to meet, engage, and discuss areas of business collaboration with 43 WEConnect International certified women’s business enterprises (WBEs). During the event, the corporate representatives not only shared opportunities available for WBEs, but also met individually with women business owners in small breakout sessions and listened to their individualized business pitches.
The corporate representatives in attendance included: Jacoba Schutte, Chair of WEConnect’s Advisory Council in South Africa and EY’s Products and Services Procurement Lead, South Africa; Lorenzo Bell, EY’s Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Procurement Manager; Lindsay Burns, Ingersoll Rand’s Operations Administrator; Grace Seeme, ESDP Lead for Accenture; Nirvana Govender, UPS’s Chief Financial Officer; Lynn Turnbull, Sodexo’s Supply Chain Manager; Bree McClure, Sodexo’s Supply Chain Officer; and, Jacob Pretorius, Procurement Manager from Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
At the start of the event, corporate representatives shared a number of opportunities available to the 43 certified WBEs in attendance. Following this introduction, each of the WBEs in attendance were given one minute to pitch their businesses to the corporate representative. The WEConnect International and corporate representatives stressed the idea that the pitch serves not simply as a sales tool, but also as an opportunity to remind corporates and WBEs in attendance of induvial and innovative business offerings and successes. It also allows business owners the opportunity to shape a personal introduction about these offerings for those hearing about the business for the first time.
Services offered by WBEs now represent an expanding range of sectors and services, including new entrants from manufacturing, project management, and cleaning services. The event also offered a great networking opportunity for the women business owners amongst each other. Three additional tables were added for HR and contract management; legal services; and strategy. Each table had two corporates engaging with the WBE group. Many new opportunities were discussed, much advice was given, and opportunities for collaboration were identified.
“Pitching to corporates is a great way for women’s business enterprises to catch their attention,” said Jacob Pretorius, Procurement Manager from Johnson & Johnson. “It was amazing to see how innovative and persuasive they were!”
For more information, contact: Jean Chawapiwa, Country Director of WEConnect International in SA, firstname.lastname@example.org | +27 836606586