Women are one of the most significant drivers of innovation and job growth in developed and emerging markets. They own approximately 39% of all private businesses in the formal economy and reinvest an average of 90 percent of their income to build the capacity of their families and communities.
Businesses with at least one female founder are found to perform 63% better than companies with only male founders. Yet women across the globe continue to earn, on average, less than 1% of the money spent on suppliers by large corporations and governments. There is a strong business case for buying from women-owned businesses as a diversified supply chain becomes increasingly important for corporations in the aftermath of the pandemic.
In addition, organizations that invest in a diverse supplier base spend an average of 20% less on their buying operations and generate a 133% greater return on procurement investments than a regular business. In her KeyNote, Minnie urges us to come together to create a world in which women have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and ensure the sustainable prosperity of their communities.
Mrinalini Venkatachalam is the Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Oceania at WEConnect International, a global nonprofit network that works with multinational corporations and multilateral organizations to generate market-access opportunities for women’s business enterprises in over 125 countries through supplier diversity.
The organization identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside the U.S. that are at least 51% owned, as well as managed and controlled, by one or more women, and then connects them to qualified buyers across the globe. WEConnect International’s network of corporate members, primarily Fortune 500 companies, represent over $1 Trillion in annual purchasing power. Over the last twelve years, Mrinalini has engaged with large corporations, government agencies, SMEs, and community organizations to provide them with a platform to create measurable social impact.
She speaks regularly at community events, corporate events, and conferences about the role that gender equality plays in achieving a more sustainable world for everyone. Mrinalini has been awarded the Singapore Women's Weekly's Great Women of Our Time award in the Public Service and Education category and has been nominated as one of Cleo Singapore's 2016 top ten Changemakers.