Sourcing2Equal Global Program

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs through Harnessing Procurement Opportunities

Private sector procurement from women-owned and led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) vastly lags that of male-owned and led SMEs. Although one-third of registered SMEs globally are estimated to have been created by women, large corporations and governments spend less than 1 percent of their procurement budgets on WSMEs, leaving key business and development benefits untapped.

WSMEs face structural barriers in growing their businesses due to their limited access to finance, business networks, and market information. Consequently, these barriers limit WSMEs’ ability to access new markets, including procurement contracts with private sector buyers. Companies can address the gender imbalance in their supply chains by purchasing from more women. Addressing gender inequalities in supply chains can help boost productivity, enhance sustainability, and promote innovation for buyers.

Sourcing2Equal is an IFC-led global program launched in 2019 in partnership with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and the Government of Norway. The program seeks to connect thousands of women entrepreneurs to new market opportunities via corporate procurement. The program involves: i) conducting market research and case studies on the business case for buyers to increase their purchasing from WSMEs, ii) supporting private sector companies to adopt policies and innovations that facilitate WSMEs access to corporate procurement contracts, iii) building the capacity of WSMEs to meet corporate procurement requirements, and iv) connecting WSMEs to supply chain finance solutions.

Learn more about IFC's efforts to boost inclusive supply chains through this Factsheet.

Country Programs

Sourcing2Equal Kenya

Sourcing2Equal Kenya, launched in 2021,  supports women-owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) in Kenya to become procurement ready and able to access to corporate procurement opportunities.

Sourcing2Equal Colombia

Sourcing2Equal Colombia,  launched in 2023, brings together corporate buyers in Colombia to increase access to corporate procurement opportunities for women-owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs).

Market Research

Sourcing2Equal Global Research – Harnessing Procurement Opportunities to Create Markets for Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets

IFC is undertaking a global research on the business case for private sector procurement from women-owned businesses. The research is in partnership with Accenture Development Partnership and WEConnect International. The research aims to demonstrate how purchasing from WSMEs can yield business benefits in emerging markets and encourage buyers to make more inclusive procurement decisions. It also seeks to identify supply chain financing solutions for WSMEs. The research will be launched in FY24.


Partnership with Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and Norway

Sourcing2Equal program is implemented in partnership with We-Fi and the Government of Norway. We-Fi is a collaborative partnership among the 14 governments that have made financial contributions, six multilateral development banks that serve as implementing partners, and other public and private stakeholders. We-Fi invests in programs and projects that help unlock billions of dollars in financing to address the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while also strengthening policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. As one of the We-Fi Implementing Partners, IFC supports private sector clients with investment and advisory services to expand financial services and market access for women-owned and led businesses, as well as increasing the capacity of women entrepreneurs to run high-growth businesses.

IFC-WEConnect International Global Partnership

From 2018 to 2021, IFC partnered with WEConnect International to help boost women-owned businesses’ access to market and finance in emerging markets. The partnership focused on increasing the awareness of the business case for sourcing goods and services from WSMEs. Corporate peer-learning activities under the partnership took place in the Andean RegionBangladesh (in partnership with the World Bank), India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Turkey. Corporates and financial institutions participated in roundtables and best practice sessions, shared experiences and challenges and discussed recommendations on advancing purchasing from WSMEs and financial access of WSMEs. Since 2022, IFC is partnering with WEConnect International in Kenya to deliver Procurement Readiness Training for WSMEs.

World Bank Group’s Commitment to purchase from Women-owned businesses

The World Bank Group (WBG) has committed to closing gender gaps in procurement contracts through its Supplier Diversity Program. In 2018, the WBG announced a commitment to double the amount of business WBG awards to women-owned businesses around the world by 2023. This global initiative is supported by membership in WBENC and WEConnect International, the latter focused on the development and accreditation of women-owned businesses in WBG client countries. Learn more about this initiative here.

Evangelia Tsiftsi
Communications Specialist, Gender and Economic Inclusion
+1 202-473-4159