WEConnect International Teams with High-Profile Partners to Expand Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs

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Trailblazing women's enterprise network and U.S. State Department, IDB, Walmart announce joint initiative to connect women-owned businesses in Latin America with multinational corporations

“The most effective way to accelerate a nation’s economic productivity and prosperity is to enable women to participate,” explained Secretary Clinton in her event remarks.

WEConnect International, the Washington, D.C.-based, corporate-led non-profit that empowers women-owned businesses to thrive in global markets, is set to significantly increase opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Latin America as a founding partner in the U.S. Department of State’s newly launched Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative.

Details of the partnership and overall initiative were formally announced by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the VI Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. The pioneering WEAmericas project leverages public, private and non-profit partnerships to advance global economic opportunities for women.

“The most effective way to accelerate a nation’s economic productivity and prosperity is to enable women to participate,” explained Secretary Clinton in her event remarks.

As part of the WEAmericas project – and building on the success of their ongoing USAID Pathways Access Initiative (PAI) partnership in Peru – WEConnect International and the State Department are now collaborating to extend outreach efforts to Mexico.

With the help of local economic-development organizations, WEConnect International will identify, register and certify Mexican businesses that are at least 51 percent owned, managed and controlled by women, and then connect them to prospective corporate buyers – regardless of geographic, social or financial obstacles.

“No country can live up to its civic or economic potential when it leaves behind half its population,” says Melanne Verveer, U.S. State Department Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. “Our partnership with WEConnect International in Mexico provides one example of how the State Department brings together stakeholders to drive economic and equality goals for peace and prosperity, in the region and at home in the U.S.”

As well as providing guidance and resources to women business owners, WEConnect International will work closely with multinational corporations interested in sourcing goods and services from qualified Mexican vendors.

“Corporate members are enthusiastic about our expansion into Mexico because our work helps them to meet their diversity and inclusion goals by providing links to women-owned businesses,” says Elizabeth Vazquez, WEConnect International CEO and co-founder. “Partnerships like this help to ensure that women-owned businesses in Latin America will benefit from this growing demand.”

In addition to its efforts in Mexico, WEConnect International is joining with founding corporate member Walmart and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to introduce new opportunities for women business owners in Costa Rica, Chile and Peru to boost their economic productivity.

For this project – also part of the State Department’s WEAmericas initiative – WEConnect International and its partners will focus on providing women entrepreneurs with the outreach, education, training and networks required to build sustainable businesses, gain access to new markets and compete in global value chains as employers and community leaders.

For more information about the WEConnect International network, visit http://www.weconnectinternational.org.

For more information about Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas, visit U.S. Department of State: WEAmericas.

About WEConnect International

WEConnect International, a corporate-led global 501(c)(3) non-profit, helps build sustainable communities and economic growth by empowering women business owners to succeed in global markets. Based in Washington, D.C., WEConnect International has since 2009 provided certification, resources, mentoring and peer/corporate connections to businesses based outside the United States that are at least 51 percent owned, managed and controlled by one or more women. Its professional network active online, throughout Canada, Europe, in Latin America and Asia, WEConnect International is the first organization to certify women-owned businesses in both developed and emerging markets.

The WEConnect International corporate network represents more than US$700 billion in annual purchasing power. Global members are true pioneers in the new field of inclusive sourcing and global supplier development: Accenture, Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Boeing, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Cummins, Dun & Bradstreet, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobil, Full Circle Exchange, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, HP, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Manpower, Marriott, Microsoft, Motorola, Pfizer, PG&E, Royal Bank of Scotland, Verizon, Walmart and Wellpoint.

For more information about WEConnect International, visit http://www.weconnectinternational.org

Follow WEConnect on Twitter: @WEConnection

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