Press releases

Women entrepreneurs’ forum connects buyers and sellers for long-term potential

28 September 2011
ITC News

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is working with partners to bring together women business owners from around the world and top-level executives from multinational companies for business matching and mentorship. The connections and learning experiences will take place during the Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum in Chongqing, China 27 – 29 September 2011.

“ITC and its partners recognize the tremendous opportunity corporate supplier diversity programmes targeting sourcing from women brings to women business owners,” said Patricia R. Francis, Executive Director of ITC. “We also recognize that women business owners must understand the market demands and the companies’ specific requirements for purchasing products or services. The Forum is bringing together buyers and sellers, but just as importantly, we are engaging capacity building organisations, such as trade promotion organisations, which will assist the women in acquiring the skills necessary to meet international requirements. The ensuing wealth creation is good for economic and human development.”

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, the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission, 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 Global Platform has launched a long-term strategy to close the gap between buyers’ requirements for products and services and sellers currents offerings,” said Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO of WEConnect International. “Our Buyer Mentor Groups will build relationships among women business owners and the multinational corporations. We are particularly honoured to have participation from our WEConnect member corporations, Accenture, Boeing, Cummins, Dun and Bradstreet, DW Morgan, HP, IBM, Marriott, and Walmart.”

More than 250 women-owned businesses, including more than 100 from China, will participate in the Forum along with some 40 executives from multinational corporations, and representatives from women’s business associations, government, trade promotion organisations, and ITC. The Forum is focused on six sectors: agribusiness; construction; automotive and clean and green technologies; information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO); textiles and apparel; and coffee.

“We have already seen success in several areas including in the coffee sector with ITC’s facilitation of business for the International Women Coffee’s Alliance and in textiles and apparel with Walmart’s procurement from Ethical Fashion Africa, a project of ITC. Our plan now is to expand that kind of success into different sectors,” said Mrs. Francis. ITC’s focus is on assisting women in developing and transition economies achieve export successes.

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 which will build sellers’ capacity.

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