Accra, Ghana Just landed in Accra and went directly to the African Businesswomen Network (ABWN)/Vital Voices meeting focusing on supplier diversity.

The 30 women (and one man) attending were just finishing a four day intensive session on how women owned businesses can prepare themselves to make the best business case possible for supplying goods and services to large companies and governments, focusing on how these business can add value and reach new consumers for products and services.

The speaker, Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO and co-Founder of WE Connect International energized the group. WE Connect is a global non-profit founded by corporations committed to doing business with women owned businesses; the current members of WE Connect represent over $700 billion in annual purchasing power.

This is a critical time for women owned businesses in Africa to make their case in the global marketplace since large numbers of multinationals are planning to create supplier diversity programs globally in the next five years. Elizabeth, who has extensive experience working with women-owned business talked about this potential and the need to ensure that women owned business are part of the competitive process. She stressed the importance of working with suppliers to major companies and learning the internal structure and needs of potential corporate partners.

The group was very interested in WE Connects certification of women owned businesses to make it easy for corporate partners to find women owned businesses to participate in their supplier chains.

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