14 Major Decision Makers Mobilize for Business Equity
June 18, 2018
LONGUEUIL, June 18, 2018 - To stimulate the growth of women-owned businesses, the Quebec Business Women’s Network (QBWN) brought together 14 corporate decision-makers on June 8th with a goal of including more women-owned businesses in corporate supply chains.
Fairness in business
“While we recognize the importance of women in senior management and board of director positions, very little thought is placed on the importance of female-owned businesses in corporate supply chains,” says Ruth Vachon, President and CEO of the Quebec Business Women’s Network. “The value of equity and diversity is more widely discussed in the public arena. We want to fuel the debate to go further and extend equity to all facets of the business, including the supply chain.”
14 major decision-makers mobilize
In order to bring about real change, the QBWN convinced the 14 decision makers to make a concerted effort to include more female-owned business in their supply chains, with the objective of having a real impact on the economy. Under the chairmanship of Nancy Goudreau, Corporate Financing Director at Business Development Bank of Canada, a Working Committee is being created with the goal of identifying concrete actions to make a difference, whether as a model or influencer. “We must not forget that in Quebec, it is estimated that of all the purchases made from suppliers to large companies, only one per cent of the value of these contracts is awarded to companies run by women. This meeting demonstrated the great willingness among large companies to encourage the growth and development of women-owned businesses by giving them visibility on the opportunities existing at home. The sharing of good practices and joint learning among the various large organizations that will take an active part in this committee will have the potential to gradually change our economy and make it more inclusive,” says Vachon.
The portrait of our companies
It is highly likely this approach will be greatly appreciated by the main stakeholders. In a recent survey conducted by the firm Axdev on behalf of the Quebec Business Women’s Network[i], 93% of women entrepreneurs surveyed said they wanted to grow their businesses significantly in the coming years. Of the various barriers to growth, support seems to be the most important factor for these women. In fact, two thirds (65%) would like help finding the best way to succeed in dealing with medium and large businesses.
From a corporate standpoint, the companies surveyed seem to have the same procurement policy for all and they mainly deal with suppliers who win tenders. In most cases, the main goal is getting the best price. Although half of the respondents mentioned having a responsible purchasing policy, very few indicated they have done business in the last year with women-owned businesses. But there is great interest in getting more information on the benefits of supplier diversification.
Inspiring models for Quebec
The meeting took place in the presence of Satya-Christophe Ménard, Sodexo World CEO for Services to Schools and Universities who presented the strategy of this French multinational in supplier diversification. “Sodexo is one of the first major global companies to have implemented a policy of diversification of its suppliers,” explains Mr. Ménard. “To ensure we have a good pool of women-owned businesses, we even offer mentorship to help these companies better meet the demands of large companies like ours.”
Although no study has yet empirically demonstrated the benefits of diversifying its suppliers, Sodexo believes this approach should follow the same logic based on a major internal study conducted with more than 50,000 managers in 70 entities around the world: teams with a male to female ratio between 40% and 60% perform better in all areas: financial performance, customer and team loyalty, workplace safety, employee engagement.
About the Quebec Business Women’s Network
Since 1981, the Quebec Business Women’s Network (QBWN) has contributed to the achievement of professional goals and the influence of its thousands of members: entrepreneurs, executives, managers and professionals. The QBWN is particularly distinguished by the strength of its networking, its support units, its training and its international links with the Francophonie. Also recognized for the promotion of women’s leadership, the QBWN proudly showcases them through its unique initiatives: the Women’s Business Awards of Quebec since 2001, the Women’s Economic Development program in association with WEConnect International and WBE Canada, and the creation of the Network of Young Business Women of Quebec (QBWN).
Source: Quebec Business Women’s Network
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Sophie Allard, APR
514 499 3030, ext. 771
Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec
514 978 9802
List of Participating Organizations:
Aéroports de Montréal
Business Development Bank of Canada
BMO Financial Group
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Export Development Canada
[i] The online survey was conducted by the survey firm Axdev from May 21 to June 1, 2018 among 289 women business owners and 17 procurement managers in medium and large businesses.