In an effort to foster women entrepreneurship across the country, Walmart India launched the second edition of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme (WEDP).
The first edition of Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme (WEDP) received hundreds of applications, from across India, of which 32 women entrepreneurs from various segments like home décor, apparels, bags, seasonal products, fashion jewellery and processed food were selected. Walmart India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart Stores identified 11 of the women-owned-businesses (WOBs) as Walmart India suppliers, as their products fitted the assortment, and the businesses have met required parameters to become a Walmart supplier. The initiative thus created newer avenues and empowered the WOBs.
The programme is funded by Walmart and implemented by non-profit organisation WEConnect International, TTC Global and Amity University.
“We have ramped up the programme and doubled the number this year. The programme is designed to make women entrepreneurs more competitive and resilient in today’s dynamic business environment. For India’s growth story to translate into shared prosperity for all of its people, we need to lay down a strong foundation to make the ecosystem more inclusive,” said Krish Iyer, President & CEO of Walmart India.
What does WEDP’s second edition have in store?
With 64 participants on board, the programme doubled the number of participants this year (32 participants graduated from the first batch).
In the next nine months that would last through July 2018, the women entrepreneurs will undergo a structured capacity building training, and will receive mentoring and technical support customised to the needs and nature of their businesses.
The training sessions would include various formats, including classroom sessions, workshops, field trips, webinars etc. During the programme, they will be taught a number of aspects of running a business – marketing, finance, business strategy, operations, legal and compliance, social networking, among others.
Amity University is customising the training curriculum as per requirements in addition to training the participants. As a knowledge partner, TTC Global (a global platform promoting women entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment) is responsible for identification and selection of high potential WOBs. WEConnect International educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises outside of the US and connects them with multinational corporate buyers. The NGO is responsible for overall conceptualisation of the training programme, as well as selecting and assessing the needs of the participants.
Parul Soni, Country Director, WEConnect International in India, said, “WEConnect International believes in a world in which women have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and ensure the sustainable prosperity of their communities. The Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme matches beautifully with our vision.”
The WOBs would be in different product categories, located in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi NCR, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
Walmart’s efforts to nurture women entrepreneurs
Walmart has committed to empower women around the world and help WOBs succeed and grow. In September 2011, Walmart launched the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, a five-year initiative to use its unique size and scale to improve the lives of underserved women around the world.
As part of the initiative, Walmart committed to source $20 billion from women for its U.S. business and double sourcing from WOBs internationally. While the company achieved the $20 billion sourcing goal for the U.S. in late 2016, Walmart continues to work toward the international goal to double sourcing from WOBs in other markets.
This programme is designed to expand Walmart India’s B2B cash-and-carry business, which is focused on serving India’s kiranas and other small businesses in the country. The entrepreneurs were selected based on the following parameters: merchandise, turnover, region-based and years of operations. Walmart India today owns and operates 21 best-price modern wholesale stores in nine States across India. Walmart India has integrated B2B e-commerce in all 21 stores.
Jenny Grieser, Senior Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment for Walmart, said, “WEDP programme strengthens our commitment to economically empower women. Empowering women is the right thing to do for the community and it also makes good business sense.”
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