Women business owners connect with multinational companies at forum in China
Women-owned businesses from around the world have made connections and formed relationships with multinational companies at the International Trade Centre (ITC)’s Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum in Chongqing, China.
More than 250 women entrepreneurs from around the world, including more than 100 from China, met with 55 large corporations that are looking to procure from women-owned businesses. While the companies have already committed during the Forum to nearly USD15 million in transactions, the Forum is part of a long-term strategy in which sellers and buyers develop relationships in order for the sellers have a better understanding of and ability to meet the buyers’ procurement requirements and standards.
‘The Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum has been a great success in that companies such as Accenture, Boeing, Marriott, Rio Tinto and Walmart have met with women business owners to find out about their offerings, and the businesswomen have come to better understand procurement processes,’ said Patricia R. Francis, Executive Director of ITC. ‘The next step is for ITC to work with its partners to enable these and other women business owners to meet buyers’ requirements. That capacity building could include training in areas such as meeting quality standards, meeting packaging and labeling requirements, or how to participate in a tender process.’
ITC announced at the Forum that participants from the construction and real estate development industry are forming an association to actively promote the interests of women’s business enterprises working in, or providing products and services to, businesses in the industry. The association, with working title of Women Entrepreneurs in the Building Environment (WEBE), has the aim of increasing women’s share of procurement, with particular emphasis on ensuring participation of women-owned businesses in developing countries.
As part of the Forum, ITC, in cooperation with the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission (COFTEC), is organising a seminar on 29 September 2011 on food safety in world trade. The training covers topics such as the world scenario on food safety, requirements of food safety in regulatory requirements of developed and developing countries, various food safety standards available and which to choose, requirements of these standards, financial implications in implementing food safety systems and proposed plan of action for implementation.
The Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum is the first international event in the 10-year strategy of the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors and is organised by ITC, Chongqing Municipal Government, COFTEC, and WEConnect International. It has been organised in partnership with the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, SPINNA and Quantum Leaps. The Forum is supported by UK AID and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Forum focused on seven sectors: agribusiness; construction; automotive and clean and green technologies; information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO); textiles and apparel; coffee; and trade facilitation.
The aim of the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors is to increase the share of corporate, government, and institutional procurement secured by women vendors for the ultimate purpose of bringing greater economic benefit to women and their communities. Corporate members of the Platform have an annual procurement spend in excess of USD700 billion; the sellers network includes more than 30,000 business and professional women; and there are a growing number of trade support institutions joining the Global Platform that build sellers’ capacity.