Overcoming the Challenges Facing Women-Owned Businesses

For small businesses, becoming a corporate supplier is a catalyst to growth. It provides the businesses with increased revenue and financial stability, it opens doors to other large clients, and it lends instant credibility to the businesses (Foggin, 2009). Today, however, breaking into a corporate value chain can be difficult, as evidenced by the relatively few number of companies that have managed to do so. This is particularly true for businesses owned by women.

Women business owners who are seeking to access corporate value chains face a number of significant challenges, from simply knowing where to find procurement opportunities to meeting the technical and financial requirements of corporations. This section presents some commonly cited challenges faced by women business owners and techniques for addressing them.

  1. Strategic Sourcing
    1. Increasing Access to Information and Social Networks
    2. Streamlining the Application Process
    3. Streamlining the Contracting Process
    4. Limiting Contract Sizes
    5. Establishing Appropriate Award Criteria
    6. Providing Feedback
    7. Paying Promptly
  2. Supplier Development
    1. Establishing Outreach Programs
    2. Technical Assistance
    3. Financial Assistance
    4. Business Mentoring
  3. Infrastructure Development