Female entrepreneurship has a lot to offer the market like innovation, leadership, skilled labour, potential for high profit and more. Creating opportunities for women in business to thrive will be highly beneficial to the economy. Also, creating an inclusive environment for female participation in sourcing and procurement could mean a better and more diverse supplier range!
Some ways to achieve this are through:
Target and goal setting. Using SMART goals, give space to women in your supply chain. This could be through the use of quotas, such as a certain percentage of supply chain contracts reserved for women-owned enterprises. These goals can range from short to long term, with a consistent tracking and measuring of progress.
Build awareness and capacity internally by creating an inclusive culture within your business. Have a clear and unified approach to inclusion within your company, make sure everyone is on board and committed. Having a procurement or diversity and inclusion team can be very helpful with setting a clear internal culture.
A supplier diversity program can be helpful to increase diversity and inclusion in your supply chain. Actively seeking women owned businesses, using available networks, business associations, conferences, trade fairs. Avoid tokenistic inclusion by having a consistent and constant approach to inclusion through a supplier diversity program.
Create networking opportunities for women owned businesses. Conferences, meetings, forums, workshops are some ways that businesses can become connected. Women often struggle to break into the market due to a lack of opportunity, so an opportunity to connect is highly important.
Highlighting success stories will give others the confidence in this approach and celebrate the work being done. Awards, certifications and public reports will allow others to see that gender responsive procurement can be a beneficial and celebration worthy endeavor, good for business and good for women!
Collaboration with women’s organizations who are there to assist. There are many NGOs, women’s organizations, specific gendered teams within government or corporations to help businesses with gender responsive procurement. Within specific industries, or more generally about sourcing and procurement, such as SheSupplies! Utilize the help that is available to you.