by Wendy Strgar September 21, 2011
“Investing in women leads to stronger economic growth for communities, countries, and companies.” -Sandra Taylor
I have been waiting for this day for several years and am excited to be here, ready, waiting for the moment when the political tides would turn towards the importance of women and business. Years ago, a buyer from the mass market industry told me to investigate the process of becoming a certified woman-owned business. It took a good half a year to complete the application and get certified, but in my business, there are few government contracts available for the supplying of healthy intimacy products. I found that most of the companies that had diversity programs were not that devoted to them.
But now, Wal-Mart is again leading the way as it announces a multi-billion dollar Global Women’s Business Initiative which includes buying $20 billion of products from U.S. female-owned businesses in the next five years and training women to work in factories and retail around the globe. The world’s largest private employer also will provide more than $100 million in grants to non-profit organizations aiding women.
There are not that many women owned businesses that sell products inside Wal-Mart and their national and international distribution opportunity could change the scope and face of many businesses including my own. Just as the State Department has focused on “women-owned businesses that are viable but have not yet scaled,” this new Wal-Mart initiative has the potential to drive the policy on the ground.
Their last initiative forcing their suppliers to become more sustainable changed the face of green business across the board. It is thrilling to consider the good that this giant corporation could create just by shining a light in the direction of women’s efforts. Although there are many that dismiss this new initiative as a cheap response to the supreme court case they recently won, I am grateful for any impetus that makes us want to be better.
So here I am in line for the new initiative. My hand is raised high. Let me be a case study in what happens when you open distribution channels to a woman-owned business that works to make women’s lives better every day. It has got to be a “happily ever after” story.
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