Women leading the supply chain

Thai female smes

Amidst the prolonged pandemic over the past two years, business at every level has been damaged. Kenan Foundation Asia has been working to build up entrepreneurs’ competitiveness by partnering with UN Women to implement the Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women at Work in Asia ‐ WeEmpowerAsia Thailand project to promote gender equality for economic development with determination.

Through 20 months of collaboration, Kenan has championed the Women’s Empowerment Principles – WEPs, an empowering curriculum from UN Women, which aligns with the ‘Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality’. Utilizing this special curriculum, we have supported over 400 SMEs and trained more than 200 women-owned businesses to enter the leading supply chain.

The project aims to prepare female entrepreneurs to enter the top supply chain companies, which is considered part of the Gender Responsive Procurement that many global companies are keeping their eyes on. By doing so, the project has led female entrepreneurs to sustainable business development.

To adopt gender-responsive procurement, a global practice, in the Thai context, Kenan has undertaken a series of measures, including;

  1. We partnered with The Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) to address the definition of female entrepreneurs, which includes criteria of ownership, shareholding, management. OSMEP is scrutinizing and will crystalize the criteria this year, while they also continue with their vision to serve as an avenue for female entrepreneurs to apply the Gender Responsive Procurement.
  2. We trained 400 companies from a wide range of enterprises to empower women in response to the ‘Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality’ through gender-responsive procurement. This motivates them to adopt a new policy that will support female entrepreneurs.
  3. We facilitated a series of workshops for over 200 women-owned businesses to enter the leading supply chain regarding the business module, breaking the bias in business, accessing finance resources, and pitching.
  4. We connected medium and large enterprises with female entrepreneurs through business discussion sessions. Kenan has selected six outstanding women-owned businesses (out of 45 candidates) to present their business plan to honored mentors from OSMEP and top domestic and international companies.

Our online event is now available to anyone interested in observing the ‘Idea to I do’, a business pitching contest, on March 16 from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM to learn and thrive in the international supply chain network. Register now at https://unwomen.thedreamerdigital.com/

About the Author

Mr. Wichai Limpitikranon, Ph.D., is a Senior Manager, Business and Economic Development at Kenan Foundation Asia, and he’s also the manager of the WeEmpowerAsia project. Through facilitating the project, managing stakeholders, forming networks across government, private, and multilateral sectors, Kenan has empowered SMEs and community members to elevate their business competitiveness across Thailand, Vietnam and ASEAN.

Kenan Asia