The coalition commits to track and measure at least $1.5 billion in combined total new money spent by commitment makers on women-owned businesses based outside the US from 2013 to 2018. The coalition also commits to implement supplier readiness initiatives including training at least 15,000 women business owners based outside the US from 2013 to 2018.
Over the last two years, stakeholders from multiple sectors have intensified their investments in women-owned businesses, as part of their commitment to women as a sustainable engine of long-term economic growth and social progress. The commitment makers believe that impact-oriented enterprise development programs must encourage entrepreneurs to take concrete steps to grow a business, whether that means creating the financial records that bankers may one day require for formal financing, or developing products that are most suitable for export markets, or getting certified as a women's business enterprise. The commitment makers also believe that programs must include multiple interventions, if investments in women's economic empowerment are to have a transformational effect.
The commitment makers believe a multi-faceted approach that includes other essential elements such as business networking, leadership development, mentoring, access to capital, and access to markets will produce the strongest long-term results. The commitment makers also believe an innovative, promising strategy is to focus efforts on helping high-potential women-owned business not just grow but also to penetrate local, regional, and global value chains as a specific route to stronger sales and overall business growth.
The commitment makers envision the following initiatives over the next five years: identify and connect a network of women entrepreneurs, supplier-readiness training, technical assistance, value chain development, access to markets for women's enterprises; among other key interventions that will enable women entrepreneurs to grow and move up the value chain.
At the outset of this commitment to action, the commitment makers will have secured a number of partners from the private and NGO sectors primarily who are actively engaged and have outlined their individual commitments which collectively allow the commitment makers to achieve their two stated goals: increasing spending on women-owned business based outside the US and providing supplier readiness training to more than 15,000 women outside the US.
The commitment will have an initial group of confirmed partners by September 2013, but it is anticipated that the list will continue to be built and new partners representing different industries, regional investments and technical experience will be brought on. The corporate partners will work closely with WEConnect International regarding the identification of an individual organization's baseline analysis of current spend on women-owned businesses based outside the US, followed by the setting of growth targets and strategies. The aggregate of these targets will be reported as progress is tracked against goals throughout the five years of the commitment. NGO, corporate partners and other third party stakeholders who are committed to support the demand and supplier readiness trainings and capacity building opportunities are required to secure their own funding. The aggregate of these training programs will be reported as the commitment makers work to achieve the second goal of training at least 15,000 women business owners based outside of the US.
Numerous studies show that one of the smartest investments in long-term development is women's economic empowerment. From a global perspective, GEM research representing 84% of world GDP shows that by 2010, approximately 104 million women had started and managed new businesses, adding to the approximately 83 million women leading businesses launched at least three years earlier. Together, these 187 million women demonstrate the enormous contribution women entrepreneurs make to economic growth worldwide. Moreover, numerous studies suggest that because women tend to spend income on those around them, investing in women also produces a significant multiplier effect, bringing not just increased revenue to local economies, but also better educated children, healthier families, and more stable, secure, and prosperous communities.
Despite these benefits, women's economic potential has not been fully realized. Women entrepreneurs have less access to markets, credit, training, technology, role models, community support and protection under that law relative to men.
The world economy has experienced strong growth over the last 20 years, and yet women-owned business still account for less than one percent of large corporate spend globally, representing an enormous market opportunity for women who want to grow their businesses by selling to inclusive corporations.
The commitment is to collaborate across the SME development lifecycle to address critical areas of need, with each partner focusing on the specific interventions that are most likely to yield the best long-term results. The partners intend to leverage each other's contributions to create a more efficient and effective channel to identify, develop, and scale high-potential women-owned businesses that can become strong corporate suppliers. The coalition will focus on educating both supply and demand on how to do more business together to help create more sustainable economic prosperity and jobs.