Empowering Women Through the Global Supply Chain

June 4, 2014
General Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s newest research report, From Millions to Billions: Scaling Up Women’s Empowerment Globally investigates the status of women-owned businesses in Mexico and offers global companies ways they can integrate them into their supply chains.

Many companies want to support women-owned businesses. Studies show that women-owned businesses are more likely to give back to the community, so supporting those companies can have a greater social impact.

Introducing diversity into one’s supply chain makes business sense. Where all things are equal, it lowers risk to purchase from suppliers whose characteristics differ from traditional suppliers. Developing more, and stronger, women-owned businesses also mean more competition, which can lower prices. Hence, both international women and the corporations that source from them can benefit from supplier diversity programs.

Despite the great opportunities that come from buying from women, there are also challenges. Finding international women entrepreneurs who are ready to be large suppliers can be difficult. To better understand the opportunities and challenges of buying from women-owned businesses around the world, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation conducted research on purchasing from women-owned businesses in emerging economies. The research, From Millions to Billions: Scaling Women’s Empowerment Globally, focused on Mexico as a case example. The goals of the research were to identify the challenges that corporations face when trying to buy from Mexican businesswomen, and potential solutions for circumventing these challenges.

The research produced several key findings:

  • More attention needs to be paid to the difficulties of finding women suppliers internationally and how more women suppliers can be generated.
  • Distinct characteristics of businesswomen exist that organizations can use to identify women suppliers in emerging economies.
  • Businesswomen in emerging economies face significant roadblocks. Experts have identified solutions for corporations to help circumvent these barriers.

Leading companies that care about women’s economic empowerment are aware of the great opportunities and challenges that sourcing from women suppliers entail. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we hope that our research will help global companies to expand their base of consumers and productive workers, while improving the lives of women and their families globally.