WEConnect International has launched the Women’s Business Enterprise Certification for businesses that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women in Sri Lanka.
The WEConnect International Certification is a globally recognized assessment process, available in 50 countries, designed to facilitate the evolution of women-owned businesses within global value chains.
Through certification, women-owned businesses can significantly increase their online visibility with a comprehensive business profile listed in a searchable global database of over 14,000 registered and/or certified women-owned vendors. Available in 10 languages, the database is used by WEConnect International member buyers – including some of the world’s largest companies – to identify women-owned suppliers for procurement. Certified companies can also use the globally recognized Women Owned logo on consumer-facing products to enhance and differentiate their brand.
Benefits of certification also include virtual and in-person opportunities to “meet the members” with major buyers that offer women-owned businesses the opportunity to learn more about the buyer’s gender-neutral sourcing efforts. , its purchasing needs, its criteria for becoming a supplier and future contractual opportunities. . There are also formal mentoring programs offered by WEConnect International members on a selective basis and training and capacity building programs based on in-person and virtual webinars through WEConnect Academy.
“The certification process opens doors for Sri Lankan women entrepreneurs seeking access to businesses, especially WEConnect International member buyers who are committed to gender-neutral sourcing,” said Eroshan Alagaretnam, Regional Director of WEConnect International for South Asia.
“For members like Marriott International, the certification provides the assurance we need when looking to buy from a vetted women-owned business,” added Marriott International Director of Procurement, APEC Region Bharanidharan Ramaswamy.
The certification follows training programs that WEConnect International has conducted to build the capacity of women-owned businesses in Sri Lanka. In the past four months alone, 88 women-owned businesses have been trained in strategic planning and 70 in marketing and sales, and another 300 women-owned businesses have been invited to participate this year.
This unique training, which is part of a three-year project that WEConnect International is implementing regionally called “Empowering Women through Economic Inclusion”, is designed to generate long-term opportunities for women business owners to connect and do business with major buyers, including local and multinational companies, government agencies, and non-profit and non-governmental organizations.
Funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, the project was created in response to an ecosystem research report conducted in partnership between the US State Department and WEConnect International. [Ecosystem-Research-Report-on-South-Asia.pdf (media-weconnectinternational-org.s3.amazonaws.com)]. The report found that in Sri Lanka, women-owned businesses face more institutional and cultural barriers than their male counterparts, especially when accessing business finance, collateral assets, markets, information, networking, training, education and when competing in male-dominated industries. Because of this, women business owners are hampered in their ability to do business with large corporations, which in turn limits the growth and expansion of their businesses.
The certification was launched at an event organized by WEConnect International and included Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Export Development Council, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, several regional chambers such as Hambantota and Kandy, as well as Hatch, a Colombo-based incubator. For more information on the project, certification or how to register for training programs, contact the organizers at the following address: [email protected]
WEConnect International is a global, non-profit, member-driven organization that brings together motivated buyers, large corporations, multilaterals and governments with qualified women-owned suppliers around the world. It works with over 150 multinational buyers, with over $1 trillion in combined annual spending power, who are committed to sourcing more products and services from women-owned businesses based in over 130 country. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside the United States that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women.