Have you ever imagined what it might be like to be among 3,500 women who are business owners just like you? And to press flesh (the man-word for shaking hands) with women business owners who have achieved high levels of financial success in business…the level of financial success that you are hoping for and dreaming about?
If you want to meet these kinds of women business owners, you’ve got to go where they go. Many of them go to the annual WBENC/WEConnect conference, which this year, is being held in Minneapolis, June 23-26. At this event, you will meet all kinds of women business owners who own and operate companies in all kinds of industries, and who are at all levels of business financial success.
IMMEDIATE RESULTS OF ATTENDING WBENC/WEConnect: Connecting with Eagles.
At last year’s conference (in Orlando, Florida – the conference moves around), I met a woman who owns and operates one of the construction companies that was leading the process of rebuilding the World Trade Centre buildings. I met a woman whose company makes industrial fans for livestock barns. And another whose business produces sand paper products in large volume that she sells to multi-national corporations. I met a woman who has built a multi-million dollar business selling name badges. When would I have met these women business owners if I had not attended the WBENC/WEConnect conference? Probably never.
WBENC is designed for women business owners who want to increase their sales and grow their businesses by becoming a supplier to larger corporations. The woman whose company produces sand paper products took her company to the next level of business growth when she secured a contract with Wal-Mart.
Wanna know how she did it? Wanna press flesh with her? Wanna take her success strategies and apply them to your business? You’ve got to go where the eagles go, and the WBENC/WEConnect conference is one of those places.
In the U.S., many large corporations have supplier diversity programs which encourage the company’s executives to source products and supplies from women-owned businesses. In Canada, the supplier diversity program is in its infancy but momentum is building and you can get in on the early stages.
The Canadian version of WBENC is called WEConnect Canada. The WEConnect Canada organization will also be at the WBENC conference. In fact, WEConnect Canada is hosting WEConnect Canada networking and learning opportunities for the Canadian women business owners at WBENC, on Sunday evening and all day Monday (June 23 and 24). This is where you can connect with Canadian eagles – Canadian women business owners and Canadian corporations.
LONG TERMS RESULTS of WBENC/WEConnect: Contracts with corporations that take your business to the next level of financial success.
Expanding your business via supplier diversity is not easy and it does not happen with one meeting or even one conference. It’s a process. You need to learn how supplier diversity works; you need to build connections and relationships with corporate decision-makers. The first step to doing this is flying in the circles with the eagles – those women business owners who have gotten to that next level and the corporate decision-makers who can help get you there.
My odyssey started ten days ago and took me first to hot and humid Florida and the WBENC conference with the Canadian WEConnect delegation. I joined 3500 other individuals seeking to make connections between women entrepreneurs and corporations/government agencies seeking to diversify their supply chains. My job was to proudly accompany some of Manitoba's finest women entrepreneurs as they presented their expertise and product innovation to procurement executives representing some of the largest markets in North America. Our Saskatchewan colleague, Jade Gritzfeld has aptly captured the flavour of the WBENC conference in her blog series.
From any perspective, the conference was a grand success for the Canadian delegation. The women business owners who attended have already made invaluable contacts that will bring exciting new business opportunities. Some of these connections will take time coming to fruition, but well worthwhile once they do. Other meetings and discussions have had immediate and spectacular results.
For me, the event was incredibly valuable. Not only did I see, for the first time, the size and scope of this diversity initiative, but was even more aware of the need to prepare our clients to attend this event in future. I am more determined than ever to put our WECM resources behind the development of our growth-oriented women-owned businesses. There is so much opportunity out there for Manitoba women entrepreneurs. Working together, I believe that we can be even more successful in future in helping to build the capacity of our clients to be able to take advantage of these extraordinary diversity initiatives.
Now I've switched gears and am in New York City at a conference that serves highly successful women business owners. I'm hoping to network with this select group to see what I can bring back to the Centre in the way of knowledge and ideas for critical success factors that we can incorporate into our training and advisory activities. I’m just dashing off to the first roundtable now. More anon....