WHAT IS CORPORATE CONNECT?
This World Bank Group project aims to create sustainable market linkages between women-owned businesses and local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh. WEConnect International is the implementing partner on the project.
In its pilot period, the project engaged over 70 corporations and 200 women entrepreneurs in strategic ways to create a greater implementation of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I) in Bangladesh. Local corporations have supported the project by participating in training programs, connecting procurement departments with women-owned businesses and signing pledge letters committing to source more goods and services from women-owned businesses.
The pilot phase of the project through September 2019 was funded by the U.K. Department for International Development. The project in its current phase will scale up early successes from the pilot, with support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance initiative.
| Engage Corporations to Become
Supplier Diversity Champions
|Develop Capacity of
to Become Suppliers
Women business owners interact with corporate buyer representatives during a Meet-the-Buyer session.
Five local and two international corporations have joined forces together to launch the country’s first Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee. The committee aims to bring together early movers in supplier diversity and inclusion (SD&I) to exchange ideas on how to increase business connectivity between women-owned businesses and corporate buyers, to recruit new corporations to join the supplier diversity movement, and to select SD&I goals that align with their corporate structure and objectives. With accountability as a key piece of implementation, the committee will meet regularly over the coming months to report progress on early-stage SD&I goals established as part of the launch.
PROGRESS TO DATE
The following corporate partners have engaged in the program by providing crucial information on their supply chain practices and needs, training women-owned businesses on procurement and business concepts, and pledging and acting to source more from women-owned businesses.
In Bangladesh, 12 corporate partners have signed pledge letters to commit to sourcing more goods and services from women-owned businesses. Five local and two international corporations have joined forces together to launch the country’s first Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee.
Below are testimonials of what the project means to some of our corporate partners:
Md. Nazmul Islam Pavel, Head of Outsourcing, Apex Footwear Limited
“We need something like a social media group to connect to women entrepreneurs. We need a central database of women entrepreneurs.”
Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, Deputy Manager, Sustainability, DBL Group
“One of my procurement colleagues has connected me with 2 women business owners. This is a really inspiring program.”
Abu Raihan Bhuiyan Albarune, General Manager, Supply Chain, Meena Bazar, Gemcon Group
“From the procurement side, there should be a database where corporations can indicate the kind of services that we need…Women business owners also need to know how things work from the demand side of the business (in procurement, supply chain departments, etc.)”
Amer Salim, Director, Knit Asia Ltd.
“Being a member of the advisory committee is a big honor for me…. We need to customize the program more to provide sector-specific training – women business owners need some soft skills training based on industry to market their products…. Why don’t we have a lot of women who sell services?”
Ariful Haque, Senior Procurement Manager, BRAC Bank
"I trained a few women business owners to use BRAC Bank’s online bidding portal so that they can submit bids for their products/suppliers to the corporates without any challenges”
Join the supplier diversity movement for Bangladesh! Here are a few ways you can get involved with the project:
- Watch testimonials from women business owners and corporate buyers
- Change your mindset by reading a blog post: “Connecting Women Entrepreneurs to Value Chains in Bangladesh”
- Attend our upcoming conference. More information coming soon!
WEConnect International and BRAC Bank’s procurement team stand together after signing a pledge letter for supplier diversity.