Women-owned enterprises to access new business opportunities at WVEF (en)
Women entrepreneurs are set to expand their business networks and connect with international buyers at the Fourth Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The WVEF, which will take place from 16-17 September 2014, is the flagship event of the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors, led by the International Trade Centre (ITC). The forum is designed to increase the share of procurement contracts won by women by linking them to buyers around the world.
There are 8-10 million women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, representing about a third of all SMEs, yet they receive a small share of procurement contracts. For example, women win only 1% of government contracts.
At WVEF, there will be facilitated business networking sessions for women entrepreneurs to be matched with relevant buyers. WVEF offers a platform for companies to diversify their sourcing to include more women-owned companies, particularly from developing countries, which were selected to participate on the basis of buyer requirements. More than 100 participants are expected to participate at this year’s event which will feature two sectors: coffee and services.
WVEF will be held in parallel with the World Export Development Forum (WEDF).
The Global Platform, a 10-year initiative led by the ITC, aims to increase the amount of corporate, government and institutional procurement secured by women vendors. The ultimate purpose is to bring economic benefit to women and their communities.
The Global Platform provides an avenue through which corporations, including the 673 signatories of the United Nations Global Compact Women's Empowerment Principles, can operationalise commitments to inclusive sourcing. WVEF connects women vendors to buyers to establish relationships and generate business over time. During previous events at WVEF 2011 (China), WVEF 2012 (Mexico) and WVEF 2013 (India), matchmaking sessions between sellers and buyers led to the completion of more than 70 letters of intent to explore business opportunities of more than US$20m.