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Up close: Diverse supplier development in Nigeria

In 2014, the ExxonMobil Foundation partnered with WEConnect International – an organization that empowers women business owners to access global supply chains – to host more than 300 women during four “meet the buyer” sessions in Nigeria.

One-day workshops in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Port Harcourt afforded the women business owners the opportunity to network with ExxonMobil and WEConnect International representatives. The goals of the sessions included:

  • Providing insight into the barriers and options that exist in accessing corporate business opportunities;
  • Training women-owned businesses on how to interact with multinational companies;
  • Enabling women entrepreneurs to become more competitive suppliers through training on procurement practices, total system cost reduction and strategic collaboration; and
  • Educating women-owned businesses on ExxonMobil diversity programs.

The one-day workshops allowed participants to share business profiles, strategies, challenges and future plans, and introduced the women to several ExxonMobil Foundation-supported partners and programs, including Vital Voices, Solar Sister and Plan International’s Global Women in Management workshop. Additionally, linkages were made with government agencies focused on women to help ensure women are able to access the resources needed to grow and sustain their businesses.

As a result of the workshop, two Nigerian women-owned companies, Le Look Nigeria and Mazuka Nigeria Ltd., secured business with ExxonMobil. We are working with WEConnect International to use the results from these workshops to continue mentoring and fostering the sustainability of women-owned businesses in Nigeria.

Photo — Women attending a “meet the buyer” session in Nigeria, hosted by ExxonMobil and WEConnect International.