Supporting India-Based, Women-Owned SMEs Through Business Matchmaking
US-SEGA Connects Women-Owned, Sustainably-Focused Small and Medium Enterprises with Prospective International Buyers
Creating Networks for Greening Supply Chains
On September 7th, US-SEGA welcomed 53 women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to a virtual matchmaking event with potential buyers. Each of the women-owned businesses who participated have taken steps to becoming more sustainable companies, whether by developing green products or services or by conscientiously building sustainable management practices into their business models. As global supply chain managers increasingly look for suppliers who can help them reach their sustainability goals, the event served as an opportunity to connect businesses with shared commitments to a better, greener future.
The participating buyers – Procter & Gamble, Marriott, Dell, Diageo, and Mondelez – and most of the participating SMEs are all members of WEConnect International’s network. Aside from seeking out women-owned suppliers, participating buyers were also committed to greening their supply chains. The event enabled SMEs to showcase their diverse range of products and services in a singular platform to these potential buyers. In turn, buyers were able to engage in real-time with the SMEs, asking engaging follow-up questions and interacting with the intent of developing potential business relationships.
- 94% effectively connected with corporate buyers and other women-owned businesses.
- 73% delivered business pitches to at least three participating corporate buyers.
- 56% think engaging with these corporate buyers will lead to business opportunities.
Building Upon Existing Private Sector Initiatives – the Green Exporters Program
The matchmaking event was designed and conducted as part of the Green Exporters Program (GEP) in India. Participating SMEs had previously attended the GEP training facilitated by partners UPS, ICC, GIST Impact, and FICCI in July. The GEP includes a combination of training for SMEs on adoption of greener practices, access to a software to measure, benchmark, and economically value the impact of business operations on the environment designed by the ICC and GIST Impact, and ICC Certification. With US-SEGA’s support and collaboration with WEConnect International, the GEP in India is the first iteration to include the complementary matchmaking component, providing an opportunity for GEP participants to meet buyers and competitively market themselves based on their sustainability commitments and proactive measurement of their environmental impact.
Following the event, buyers expressed their satisfaction with the organization and structure of the event, and indicated that they were interested in continuing the conversation with select potential suppliers. More than half of the participating women-owned SMEs who responded to the post-event survey noted that they believe that their interactions with corporations would result in potential business opportunities.
Supporting Demand-Driven Impact
All these companies are committed to reducing their environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices in their industries. Their collaboration will not only benefit their own businesses, but also the planet by reducing the carbon footprint and increasing the adoption of sustainable practices in their respective industries.
These critical business linkages are built upon mutual commitment to sustainable business practices and help successful women-owned enterprises grow. It’s inspiring to see these businesses come together and lead the way in promoting sustainability while building successful enterprises.
Congratulations to these companies who have already embarked on their sustainability journeys, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact they will make in their industries and beyond.
The US Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) project is managed by the USAID Asia Bureau’s Economic Growth team, with funding and strategic direction from the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Cadmus. Under US-SEGA, Cadmus implements USAID Asia Bureau’s Private Sector Incubator for COVID-19 in Asia (PICA) activity. Recognizing that the private sector has taken a leadership role in mitigation and recovery post-COVID-19, PICA was conceptualized as a way to bolster and support private sector efforts toward recovery and to spur innovation. The PICA activity specifically targets recovery in four key areas that represent opportunities for growth and recovery in Asia: SME digitalization, jobs skills & mobility, tourism, and green growth.