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Walmart Women Entrepreneurship Development Program Graduates 32 Women-Owned Businesses

Program success leads to second year of training open to WOB businesses

Today, 32 women entrepreneurs graduated from the Walmart Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP), which trained these entrepreneurs in professional and soft skills to help build robust businesses. The graduation event was attended by women entrepreneurs, retail industry experts, NGOs and government officials. WEDP was supported by Walmart and implemented by WEConnect International and Vrutti.

The program was launched in April 2016 and consisted of several training modules to help develop the pipeline of women-owned businesses for the industry. Walmart India identified eight of the WOBs as future Walmart India suppliers as the products fitted the assortment apart from meeting all other parameters to becoming a supplier.

At the graduation event, Walmart announced the project’s continuation into its second year. The details of the application process for the training program, as well as the criteria for selection will be announced in the near future.

On the occasion, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India, said, “Walmart funded the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in April 2016 to support WOBs achieve higher levels of business growth and help make them more resilient in today’s dynamic socio-economic environment. During several assessments, it was heartening to note that the program did bring about the desired outcome and impact. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to interact with all of them, witness their entrepreneurial spirit and hear with awe their total and complete commitment and perseverance.

As the women entrepreneurs graduate today, I feel a sense of pride that this program has created a pipeline of strong WOBs for the industry’s supply chain, in line with our efforts to be ‘partners in progress’ with the Government in the country. Congratulations to all the graduates, and we are excited for the second year of WEDP.”

During the 11-month program, the women underwent a structured capacity building training, mentoring and technical support customized to the needs of their businesses and delivered through various formats including classroom sessions, workshops, field trips, webinars etc. WEDP was announced in January 2016 inviting applications from WOBs in food and non-food categories located in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi NCR, Telangana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and formally launched in April 2016.

Speaking about the program, Babita Gupta, Director of Nirmal Designs Pvt,Ltd., one of the program graduates, said, ``It was a beautiful program. From life skills, Social Media Marketing, Operations, Replenishment, Logistics, Supply Chain, Product Marketing, Financial Planning and Resource Management, Negotiation Skills, among others, we learnt a number of aspects of running a business and making it sustainable.”

Beyond classroom sessions, the participants were given a guided tour of Best Price Stores, owned and operated by Walmart India, to give them an understanding of the format, merchandise assortment and customer segments; met and interacted with the senior leadership of Walmart India; showcased products to the company’s merchandising team; had the opportunity to set up stalls and attend “Think Big”, the largest international confluence of WOBs and buyers.

Jenny Grieser, Senior Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Walmart, said, ``I am delighted to see the WEDP successfully complete the pilot in India. It is a significant milestone for us as we continue to strengthen our focus on increasing diversity in the global supply chain. The success in India is a result of the efforts of several stakeholders to help build capacity and success for these women entrepreneurs.”

In September 2011, Walmart launched its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, using its unique size and scale to improve the lives of underserved women.. As part of the initiative, Walmart committed by the end of 2016 to source $20 billion from women for its US business and double sourcing from WOBs internationally. Walmart India is continuously looking to engage with potential WOBs and supporting this important work.


Tags assigned to this article:
walmart WEConnect International Vrutti

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