Global Network of Women Entrepreneurs
Everyone knows the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” that often opens opportunities for the people to succeed.

But for people without notable connections, rising through the ranks can prove rather difficult. Organizations around the world have noticed this cause-and-effect, and they are using it to address the disparity of women-owned businesses around the world.

Around $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality and supporting more women to become entrepreneurs.

Three organizations, in particular, are working to build global networks to expand the potential of women entrepreneurs by connecting them with the right people to succeed.

WeConnect International

The purpose of WeConnect International is to create a global network of women entrepreneurs and help them succeed in global value chains by connecting them with qualified buyers.

Founded in 2009, WeConnect International is premised on the encouragement of equal opportunity for men and women by expanding the reach of leadership networks for women.

This organization trains women on how to sell to corporations and corporations on how to source their products from women business owners, allowing women to develop their businesses and access new markets.

WeConnect International also certifies businesses as Women’s Business Enterprises (WBE) outside of the United States that are verified to be at least 51 percent owned and managed by females.

These companies are connected with an eNetwork of corporate members, training workshops and multinational corporate buyers that allow women-owned businesses to thrive.

There are over 750 certified WBEs and 5,387 self-registered women’s business enterprises.

In addition to expanding networks with corporate business leaders, WeConnect women are building a network among themselves and doing business with each other in over 50 countries.

As trendsetters in inclusive sourcing and global supplier development models of business, corporate members of WEConnect International represent $700 billion in annual purchasing power.

By expanding the women-owned businesses, WeConnect helps in the growth of jobs and equal opportunity environment around the world, adding to global GDP and adding creative perspectives to global business.

APEC Women Connect

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women Connect Program is embracing the digital age to expand women’s potential in entrepreneurship.

In 2016, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) launched this initiative with the goal of building a community through digitalization that can empower women entrepreneurs through sharing, learning and awarding.

APEC Women Connect was pioneered by Diane Wang, an ABAC member of China, and Chair of ABAC Women’s Forum.

She saw the career opportunities and potential for the expansion of e-commerce and globalization for a low cost. This program is now connecting these opportunities with resources in the form of human connections to create a global network of women entrepreneurs.

As its primary resource, the APEC Women Connect has established two groups on Sina Weibo and Facebook to share case studies, seminars and to inspire others.

However, another trailblazing development that this body has organized is the 2018 Global Value Chain-Cross Border e-Trade Workshop.

This workshop hosted 20 participants from 9 countries most of whom were women from small countries.

The focus of the workshop was to show business owners how to utilize the current global supply chain to recognize opportunities for global expansion.

It was understood that while large multinational corporations have dominated global trade, the rise of global supply chains also creates circumstances that allow for small entrepreneurs to specialize.

DHgate.com, also founded by Diane Wang, is the only e-commerce platform dedicated to serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) retailers around the world, lowering the entry barrier for global markets access.

In its steps moving forward, APEC Women Connect is committed to building diversified platforms and networks of cooperation in areas of capacity building, information exchange and best-practice sharing to enhance gender inclusivity and expand the global network of women entrepreneurs.

Women for Women International

Women for Women International assists marginalized women in war-torn countries and conflict zones by creating social and economic empowerment programs.

Classes comprised of up to 25 women are organized to share their experiences, build support networks and learn crucial financial skills that will help them to support their families.

Since 1993, over 478,000 marginalized women have been helped by Women for Women International. Women in this program are among the most marginalized in the world.

After completion of the program, participants can also opt to take further graduate support classes. The graduate support programs help to propel women into the enterprising world with advanced financial and business training.

With these support networks, Women for Women International are expanding the global network of women entrepreneurs from the ground up.

Building women’s networking groups and acknowledging gender issues can heighten awareness, improve working environments on an internal and systematic level and boost confidence among employees.

Professional relationships create opportunities and as the job market for women entrepreneurs expands, it is important to ensure that they have the right people pulling them up to reach their full potential.

 – Sara Andresen
Photo: Flickr