Supporting and Growing Women-Owned Businesses
Expanding the use of private sector supplier-diversity programs and increase outreach to women-owned businesses. “Best practices” capturing the full benefit of supplier diversity include:
- Having a dedicated team focused on meeting specific supplier diversity targets.
- Maintaining a central database of procurement needs and registered suppliers.
- Prioritizing outreach efforts such as attending conferences and summits and working closely with networks, accelerators, and incubators in your sector.
- Implementing a supplier diversity policy and a reporting mechanism.
- Partnering with catalyzing organizations like WEConnect International, Women Business Enterprises Canada, National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) or Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)to connect with women-owned businesses.
Challenge accelerators and professional networks to attract and develop women-owned businesses. “Best practices” that stand out in attracting and developing women entrepreneurs:
- Tracking and transparency: MaRS Discovery District reached a 30 percent participation of female founders under the guidance of a female CEO.
- Women-focused programming: Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program helped participants reach an average annual growth of 20 percent in revenue.
- Co-ed networking: Entrepreneurs’ Organization provides all participants (male and female) with access to a network of entrepreneurs.
- De-bias investment decisions: The Business Development unit in Bank of Canada conducted an independent accessibility review of all steps in a female entrepreneur’s journey.
- Role modelling and public commitment: YPO Canada joined the #GoSponsorHer Challenge to encourage members to reach out to women entrepreneurs.
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