WEConnect International Launches Business Certification for Women in Sri Lanka – Adaderana Biz

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 dramatically 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 suppliers. 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 member” with major buyers that provide women-owned businesses the opportunity to learn more about buyer-inclusive sourcing efforts, purchasing needs, criteria for becoming a supplier and upcoming contract 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 business owners seeking access to businesses, especially WEConnect International member buyers who are committed to gender-neutral sourcing,” says Eroshan Alagaretnam, Regional Director, South Asia, WEConnect International.

“For members like Marriott International, the certification provides the assurance we need when looking to buy from a vetted women-owned business,” said Bharanidharan Ramaswamy, Chief Procurement Officer, APEC Region, Marriott International.

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 on a regional scale, called “Women’s Empowerment 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 hosted by WEConnect International and included the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Export Development CouncilCeylon Chamber of Commerce, several regional chambers such as Hambantotta and Kandy, as well as hatcha Colombo-based incubator.

For more information on the project, certification or how to register for training programs, please contact the organizers at: [email protected].