First the facts: there are over 821,000 women entrepreneurs in Canada who annually contribute more than $18 billion to the economy. Companies owned by women represent 47% of all SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and provide jobs to 1.7 million Canadians.Women-owned businesses are creating new jobs at four times the rate of the average firm. Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men.
Despite these facts, women-owned businesses are greatly under-represented in procurement contracts. In fact, it is estimated that women-owned businesses in Canada comprise less than 5% of all domestic and international suppliers to corporations and governments. At NLOWE ( Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs) we are committed to changing that.
NLOWE works with both women entrepreneurs to ready them for large contracts and with corporations who are interested in including women-owned enterprises in their supply chain. We help companies navigate the procurement processes of government and corporations, including the province’s natural resource projects, and guide them on where they might fit into the supply chain. We facilitate connections with government and corporate representatives, including natural resource project operators and contractors and we provide business skills development training and information about certification so companies can be ready to bid when the call comes. If you are a women-owned enterprise and want a piece of this provinces economic pie, get in touch with NLOWE for information and guidance.
Supplier diversity agreements mean good sense for corporations. They have proven to contribute to a reduction in operating costs which often means an increase in profit and they drive innovation by utilising a more inclusive vendor network. There is no longer any doubt that supplier diversity agreements contribute to an increase in national productivity. That makes it incredibly easy for our organization to support them.
We are extremely proud of our commitment to furthering supplier diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Canada. NLOWE’s award-winning efforts lead the way in certified women-owned enterprises per capita in Atlantic Canada. To date there are ten We Connect International certified businesses in the province with eleven more set to complete certification in 2015. That means women owned enterprises are ready to do business on every scale in the province, today and well into the future.
Oil and gas corporations in the province who are leading the way in supplier diversity are Hebron, Hibernia and Hibernia South Extension. Providing funding for businesses wishing to become certified and helping to prepare them for entry into their supply chains is an incredible support for NLOWE members interested in accessing the oil and gas sector. We commend their efforts and look forward to including more oil and gas companies in that category in the near future.
Alison Stoodley is the CEO of Social Media Management and is currently the President of Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE).
To learn more from Alison visit: www.socialmediamanagement.ca
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