Boeing helps women-owned businesses in the wake of COVID-19

Women-owned businesses help Boeing and our global customers meet market demand

July 08, 2020 in Community

Ngozi Oyewole, owner of Noxie Limited, a WEConnect International certified women-owned business, shows off her company’s personal protective equipment (PPE) products at her company in Nigeria.

Photo credit: WEConnect

It can be hard for businesses to live up to the ideals and standards they set for themselves. One of the more challenging issues is finding women-owned businesses and suppliers that can not only meet business needs but are, in fact, owned by women.

The potential for fraud can be an issue throughout the procurement process. Government agencies actively watch for companies that try to game the system by falsifying their minority or female representation in order to unlawfully pursue contracts. With an abiding commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in employees and suppliers, Boeing looked for a way to assist these women-owned businesses.

One way Boeing helped was to become a founding member of WEConnect International, a non-profit organization that identifies, educates, registers, and certifies non-U.S.- based women's business enterprises. To earn the WEConnect stamp businesses must be at least 51% women-owned, as well as managed and controlled by one or more women. After the businesses have proven they meet these high standards, they are connected with multinational corporate buyers.

WEConnect is helping those corporate buyers connect directly to businesses that can assist them with COVID-19 related needs.

“We asked women business owners in our global network to tell us about the impacts of COVID-19 on their companies and employees, and then we featured some of their COVID-19-specific solutions on our website,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International. “This also empowered our community to work together to help ensure women-owned businesses survive and thrive. Now more than ever we need to think about how we spend our money so that we rebuild with purpose and ensure everyone can contribute to and benefit from the recovery.”

WEConnect polled almost 600 women-owned businesses worldwide to find out how the current pandemic crisis has affected their businesses.

According to Jessica Kolta, a senior director for Enterprise Supply Chain at Boeing who sits on the WEConnect board, this is an excellent way for Boeing to find potential suppliers in markets outside the U.S. where we have sites, offset agreements, and strategic campaigns. Ultimately this helps Boeing increase its global supply base in a way that addresses local economic impact needs and supports certified women-owned businesses. The supplier diversity program at Boeing is successful because of its breadth, depth, maturity and long-standing commitment from executives across the enterprise. As a critical element of our strategic sourcing, in both government and commercial contracting environments, all supplier diversity factors must be considered with every purchase.

Supplier performance metrics indicate that small and diverse companies are on par, and many times better than that of their larger counterparts,” said Kolta. “Partnering with WEConnect helps us get the right kinds of suppliers to move our business forward, while benefitting the genuine women-owned businesses outside of the U.S.”

Boeing’s work to increase globally inclusive sourcing earned an honorable mention in the annual Top Global Champions for Supplier Diversity & Inclusion presented by Disability:IN, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation  and WEConnect International.

“Boeing was a founding member of a group that is offering much to people, especially in the current global environment,” said Kolta. “This directly supports Boeing’s inclusivity goals, benefits others and it’s simply the right thing to be supporting to drive community and business forward.”