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Survey on women-owned businesses

48pc find it difficult to contact corporate buyers

FE Desk | April 18, 2018 00:00:00

President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) Nihad Kabir speaking at a roundtable on 'Strengthening Market Access and Integration into Corporate Value Chains' at a city hotel recently

Forty-eight per cent of women-owned businesses in Bangladesh experience difficulty in making connections to corporate buyers, according to a survey.

During interviews, they noted that establishing networks in the sourcing departments of large corporations is complex and non-transparent.

WEConnect Internati-onal conducted the survey to identify potential points of market entry for women-owned businesses in Bangladesh, and to find opportunities to connect them to local and global corporate value chains.

Key findings from the survey were discussed at a roundtable on 'Strengthening Market Access and Integration into Corporate Value Chains' held at a city hotel recently, says a press statement.

According to the survey findings, 55 per cent of corporate respondents do not believe that women-owned businesses can competitively provide the highest-priority products and services that are procured locally by corporations.

While women-owned businesses are seen as potential suppliers of agricultural products, they are not viewed as competitive for food and beverages or marketing services, activities that are among the strongest areas of competitiveness for women-owned businesses who conduct business with corporations globally, the survey pointed out.

Nearly 55 per cent of respondents felt that women-owned businesses could improve the quality of their offering in order to do more business with corporations.

It is standard practice for a corporate buyer to assess a new supplier's product quality and fit, but interviews with business owners and the associations indicate that there is more pressure placed on women-owned businesses to prove the quality of their offer.

Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose inaugurated the roundtable attended by senior executives and managers from national and international corporations, women business owners of micro, small and medium enterprises, business associations, NGOs, donor agencies and high-level government officials.

"The roundtable brought together private industry leaders and other key stakeholders in a unique event to discuss the untapped potential of women business owners in Bangladesh," WEConnect International Co-Founder and CEO Elizabeth Vazquez said.

According to studies conducted by WEConnect International, women-owned businesses earn less than one per cent of all money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments worldwide.

This roundtable was part of a World Bank Group project funded by the UK Department for International Development - 'Strengthening Market Access for Women Business Owners'.

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