Corporate Connect: Strengthening Market Access for Women Business Owners is a World Bank Group project implemented by WEConnect International that seeks to generate long-term opportunities for women-owned businesses to connect and conduct business with local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh. This project is one of the first in Bangladesh to bring women-owned businesses and corporations together to assess the potential for market linkages and has great promise given the strong retail and wholesale presence of major corporations in the country.

The project began with surveys and focus group discussions to better understand the challenges and opportunities for gender-inclusive sourcing in Bangladesh. The next phase provided capacity building training to over 150 women entrepreneurs and secured early commitments from corporations to buy more from women-owned businesses. 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.

In February 2020, The World Bank Group and the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh, in collaboration with WEConnect International, hosted the 2020 Conference & Business Fair to bring together women business owners, corporate buyers, and association partners to champion the movement for supplier diversity. The more than 180 guests at the event participated in a senior corporate roundtable, a business fair showcasing women-owned goods and services, a business pitch competition, and a meet-the-buyer session.

Ongoing efforts center around the recruitment of local and multinational corporations in Bangladesh to join the supplier diversity movement, and women business owners in Bangladesh to join our network of entrepreneurs and corporate buyers.

Almost 600 women-owned businesses worldwide reported how the current pandemic crisis has affected their businesses. These are the local results for Asia Pacific:

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 7th January, 2020– WEConnect International is inaugurating a Women-Owned Business (WOB) Enhanced Verification to connect women-owned businesses to corporate value chains so that they can grow their businesses.


WEConnect International’s WOB Enhanced Verification is a tool for growth-oriented women-owned businesses to declare their business as a women-owned enterprise and expand their B2B opportunities in Bangladesh with corporations that are looking to source goods and services from women entrepreneurs.

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NicolasPicardCropNicolas Picard
Research, Analysis, and Project Manager
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