American organization that connects women-run businesses to
multinational corporations around the world plans to help women
business owners in India to sell their solutions, create economic
prosperity and deliver jobs.
"Our plan is to continue to work with our members and our partners
to increase opportunities for women business owners in India,"
Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-founder of WEConnect
International, a Washington based corporate-led organization told
IANS in an interview.
The non-profit that since its founding in 2009 has been connecting
women entrepreneurs to other women entrepreneurs in markets as
diverse as Peru and China, plans to continue to work with Ernst &
Young to expand the number of Indian cities where it can offer
In India, the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), the UN
International Trade Centre (ITC), the World Bank and WEConnect
launched a grassroots programme designed to develop the skills of
SEWA Gitanjali waste-pickers, the majority of whom were poor,
illiterate and vulnerable female labourers.
With the objective to improve their livelihood prospects and
sustained income, the project partners trained SEWA members in the
production and marketing of office products made from 100 percent
recycled paper, Vazquez said.
"Still underway, the project has already resulted in a 200 percent
increase in productivity, increased earnings by 10 times, reduced
input wastage by 88 percent, and made SEWA Gitanjali a
competitively priced supplier to Accenture, a WEConnect founding
corporate member," she said.
WEConnect also plans to continue working "with Accenture to build
on the pilot project we did with SEWA and the amazing women they
serve at the grassroots level," Vazquez said.
Besides Accenture, The WEConnect corporate network representing
more than US$700 billion in annual purchasing power includes
Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Cisco, Pfizer, Marriott,
and founding member, Ernst & Young.
"Most of our international corporate members are present in India
and looking for Supplier Diversity in their supply chain," and
"Indian corporations are also looking to implement Supplier
Diversity," Vazquez said.
"As they look to WEConnect to connect them to women owned
suppliers and vendors, we are rapidly expanding our network of
women owned businesses across a wide variety of sectors."
In India, WEConnect has worked with a number of partners including
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), ITC, Ministry of Micro,
Small and Medium Enterprises, NASSCOM, World Bank, and women's
business associations like AWAKE, Confederation Of Women
Entrepreneurs (COWE), EMerg and Mahakaushal Association of Women
"There's a growing demand for corporations to reach out to diverse
suppliers that better reflect specific markets, to increase
shareholder value and enhance competitive advantage," said Parul
Soni, Executive Director at Ernst & Young in India, a founding
corporate member of WEConnect International.
"Our partners help to promote the concept of inclusive sourcing in
India and they work together to encourage women-owned businesses
to think big and compete for larger contracts," said Vazquez.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)