WHAT IS CORPORATE CONNECT?
This World Bank Group project aims to create sustainable market linkages between women-owned businesses and local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh. WEConnect International is the implementing partner on the project.
In its pilot period in 2018, the project engaged over 70 corporations and 200 women entrepreneurs in strategic ways to encourage greater implementation of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I) in Bangladesh. In 2019, the project expanded to engage additional senior corporate representatives and connect them to women-owned businesses under the World Bank’s Bangladesh Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and as part of a global partnership between IFC and WEConnect International.
Over the next three years, with the support of We-Fi, the World Bank Group will scale the project and partner with local organizations to provide supplier development training to women-owned businesses, create a database of women-owned businesses, and partner with WEConnect International to connect them to each other and to corporations.
| Engage Corporations to Become
Supplier Diversity Champions
|Develop Capacity of
to Become Suppliers
Women business owners interact with corporate buyer representatives during a Meet-the-Buyer session.
PROGRESS TO DATE
Jan – Dec 2018 - Initial market research and awareness raising among corporations and women-owned businesses.
January 2019 - Online training launched for 100+ women-owned businesses.
February 2019 – In-person training on business growth and procurement processes delivered to 50 + women-owned businesses.
March 2019 - Forum held to connect women-owned businesses to corporations.
September 2019 - Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee launched with 5 local and 2 international corporations to implement corporate-specific Supplier Diversity and Inclusion goals.
Nov – Dec 2019 – In-depth business pitch training delivered to growth-oriented women-owned businesses.
February 2020 – Corporate Connect 2020 Conference & Business Fair.
In Bangladesh, 16 corporate partners have signed pledge letters to commit to sourcing more goods and services from women-owned businesses. Five local and two international corporations have joined forces together to launch the country’s first Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee.
Below are testimonials of what the project means to some of our corporate partners:
Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, Deputy Manager, Sustainability, DBL Group
“One of my procurement colleagues has connected me with 2 women business owners. This is a really inspiring program.”
Abu Raihan Bhuiyan Albarune, General Manager, Supply Chain, Meena Bazar, Gemcon Group
“From the procurement side, there should be a database where corporations can indicate the kind of services that we need…Women business owners also need to know how things work from the demand side of the business (in procurement, supply chain departments, etc.)”
Ariful Haque, Senior Procurement Manager, BRAC Bank
"I trained a few women business owners to use BRAC Bank’s online bidding portal so that they can submit bids for their products/suppliers to the corporates without any challenges”
Join the supplier diversity movement for Bangladesh! Here are a few ways you can get involved with the project:
- Read the Corporate Connect Learning Brief: a resource for senior procurement representatives that outlines actionable recommendations to increase gender-inclusive sourcing in Bangladesh.
- Watch testimonials from women business owners and corporate buyers:
- Change your mindset by reading a blog post: “Connecting Women Entrepreneurs to Value Chains in Bangladesh”
WEConnect International and BRAC Bank’s procurement team stand together after signing a pledge letter for supplier diversity.