WEConnect International: Driving capital into the hands of women business owners

We had a conversation with WEConnect International’s Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO & Co-Founder, Soledad Gompf, Chief Development Officer, and Dan Holdredge, Global Training Director, to hear about their experience as a Moody’s Foundation partner and explore our efforts to address a multitude of challenges facing women-owned businesses. Learn more about our partnership!

A female-driven economy

Globally, women are the drivers of economic growth; they make or influence over 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. And yet women-owned businesses earn less than 1% of large corporate and government spend with suppliers. WEConnect International is working to change that.

WEConnect International’s mission is to drive more money into the hands of women business owners by enabling them to compete in the global marketplace. They offer capacity-building programs, mentoring and training and equip women entrepreneurs with necessary business skills and knowledge to not only succeed, but to lead in competitive markets.

Giving credit where credit is due

Our partnership started with conversations around what could be done to help women in business access the talent and knowledge that our community has to offer. “The Moody’s team instantly understood our vision and saw the multiplier effect of purchasing power and how it aligned with Moody’s commitment to all aspects of the social impact realm,” says Elizabeth.

With Moody’s focus on entrepreneurs and women’s economic empowerment, our collaboration was a natural fit. “We didn’t want to do a training for the sake of training,” says Elizabeth. “We wanted everyone who came to the table to share, learn, contribute and benefit.”

This led to the creation of our joint Financing Your Growing Business program. Active in 18 countries, the program supports around 300 women business owners annually through interactive boot camps and online training modules that focus on credit training and accessing markets and capital. It has paved the way for other financial literacy programs, such as WEConnect Academy, supplier diversity initiatives, and a podcast on creditworthiness entitled To Her Credit, hosted by Shawn Gregrich, Director-Senior Learning Partner, Moody's Analytics.

Elizabeth explains, "In our experience, women with strong credit are not just better able to get bank loans or find investors but are in a better position to win contracts. If we can help women business owners understand the power of having good credit, we can make a measurable impact.”

An invested partnership

Soledad says, “The Moody’s Foundation provides us with important funding, but they do so much more. The pro bono tools they provide combined with their employees’ expertise has brought great value to our program.” Dan agrees, “This program exists because Moody's volunteers bring the credibility and experience.”

It’s a highly invested relationship – on both sides. Moody’s Sabrina Goicoechea, SVP-Procurement and Sourcing Operations and Analytics, even serves on the WEConnect International Board. “This is an impressive nonprofit organization that is able to achieve equal or more impact than companies twice its size,” she says. “When you’re able to see what dedicated individuals can do, you’re motivated to get in there and be a part of everything.”

And our volunteers feel the same way. Rachel Soyoye, Asst Dir-Sales Operations Manager, Moody’s Analytics, led training sessions on capital planning and growth during the Financing Your Growing Business Bootcamp 2023 in Nigeria. She says, "There was a lot of great engagement throughout the bootcamp. I was able to interact closely with participants during our breakout session on topics that were relevant to their businesses at varying stages. I was inspired by my experience and look forward to contributing to the program again in the future.”  

We have no doubt that our future with WEConnect International is bright, and look forward to developing our partnership further. Visit WEConnect International’s website to find out more about their work.

This story is part of a series highlighting the relationship between Moody’s Foundation and its partners. At Moody’s, we take a comprehensive approach to social investing, employee engagement, and pro bono service to empower small businesses and support ecosystem restoration in emerging markets.

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