What is the sound of 200 women networking?
It’s loud; it’s energetic; it’s full of excitement, discovery, exuberance and revelation. I have to say, it’s music to my ears.
I heard that music alot during the past two days as part of the WEConnect
“Contact to Contract” conference in Toronto. The gathering was a great example of the WEConnect mandate in action. It brought together entrepreneurs, corporate diversity procurement executives and specialists, government representatives and “RPOs” (regional partner organizations); the latter group included all four WEI (Women’s Enterprise Initiative) groups in western Canada and, of course, includes us at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba
The program was designed to encourage contact among and between the various players. Many of the women business owners at the conference are examples of WEConnect certification success stories. Through certification, they were able to gain access to procurement specialists at large corporations or to second and third tier suppliers who they might never otherwise have been able to target.
The WEI umbrella program, “Access to Supply Chains Project” enables the WEIs to assess women-owned companies for certification under WEConnect. In addition, the program provides guidance and support to companies that are working to build and grow certifiable companies but who are not yet ready to target the major corporate and government markets to which WEConnect is a conduit. Supports for this growth can be found through the WEI in the other western provinces: Alberta
, and BC
Whatever your state or stage of business, if you are a 51% woman-owned business with the intention to grow, you will want to be at this conference next year. The energy was boundless, the content was very useful (everything from writing proposals and RFPs to how to develop your pitch), and the speakers were entertaining and insightful. Lots of business was done over meals and at breaks and some pretty powerful people were there to listen, advise and mentor.
Corporate supply diversity programs aren’t just based on good citizenship. More and more companies are coming to realize the savings that can come from introducing competitiveness into the supply chain through diversity buying. This is a great opportunity to aim high, think big and find that path that leads to the success you want and deserve.