Program success leads to second year of training open to WOBs

New Delhi, 13 April 2017: Today, 32 women entrepreneurs graduated from the Walmart Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP), which trained these entrepreneurs in professional and soft skills to help build robust businesses. The graduation event was attended by women entrepreneurs, retail industry experts, NGOs and government officials. WEDP was supported by Walmart and implemented by WEConnect International and Vrutti.

The program was launched in April 2016 and consisted of several training modules to help develop the pipeline of women-owned businesses for the industry. Walmart India identified eight of the WOBs as future Walmart India suppliers as the products fitted the assortment apart from meeting all other parameters to becoming a supplier.

At the graduation event, Walmart announced the project’s continuation into its second year. The details of the application process for the training program, as well as the criteria for selection will be announced in the near future.

On the occasion, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India, said, “Walmart funded the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in April 2016 to support WOBs achieve higher levels of business growth and help make them more resilient in today’s dynamic socio-economic environment. During several assessments, it was heartening to note that the program did bring about the desired outcome and impact. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to interact with all of them, witness their entrepreneurial spirit and hear with awe their total and complete commitment and perseverance.

As the women entrepreneurs graduate today, I feel a sense of pride that this program has created a pipeline of strong WOBs for the industry’s supply chain, in line with our efforts to be ‘partners in progress’ with the Government in the country. Congratulations to all the graduates, and we are excited for the second year of WEDP.”

During the 11-month program, the women underwent a structured capacity building training, mentoring and technical support customized to the needs of their businesses and delivered through various formats including classroom sessions, workshops, field trips, webinars etc. WEDP was announced in January 2016 inviting applications from WOBs in food and non-food categories located in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi NCR, Telangana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and formally launched in April 2016.

Speaking about the program, Babita Gupta, Director of Nirmal Designs Pvt,Ltd., one of the program graduates, said, ``It was a beautiful program. From life skills, Social Media Marketing, Operations, Replenishment, Logistics, Supply Chain, Product Marketing, Financial Planning and Resource Management, Negotiation Skills, among others, we learnt a number of aspects of running a business and making it sustainable.”

Beyond classroom sessions, the participants were given a guided tour of Best Price Stores, owned and operated by Walmart India, to give them an understanding of the format, merchandise assortment and customer segments; met and interacted with the senior leadership of Walmart India; showcased products to the company’s merchandising team; had the opportunity to set up stalls and attend “Think Big”, the largest international confluence of WOBs and buyers.

Jenny Grieser, Senior Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Walmart, said, ``I am delighted to see the WEDP successfully complete the pilot in India. It is a significant milestone for us as we continue to strengthen our focus on increasing diversity in the global supply chain. The success in India is a result of the efforts of several stakeholders to help build capacity and success for these women entrepreneurs.”

In September 2011, Walmart launched its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, using its unique size and scale to improve the lives of under-served women.. As part of the initiative, Walmart committed by the end of 2016 to source $20 billion from women for its US business and double sourcing from WOBs internationally. Walmart India is continuously looking to engage with potential WOBs and supporting this important work.

About Walmart:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About Walmart India:
Wal-Mart India Private Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart Stores Inc., the world’s leading retailer renowned for its efficiency and expertise in logistics, supply chain management and sourcing. Walmart India owns and operates 21 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in 9 States across India and provides omni-channel shopping experience across all the stores. The Best Price stores offer best prices with unmatched convenience, choice, quality and hygiene. The mission of Best Price is "Enabling businesses to prosper...every single member". To enter and purchase from Best Price stores, it is mandatory to become a member. Members can belong to different business categories such as Resellers (‘Kirana Stores’); Offices and Institutions (O&I); and Hotels, Restaurants and Caterers (HoReCa). The assortment, service and store layout are customized to the specific needs of members who can walk into a Best Price stores and source high quality products in quantities they need and at the time they require.

About WEConnect International:
WEConnect International is a corporate-led global non-profit organization that helps women-owned businesses succeed in global value chains. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside the U.S.A. that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women and connects them with multinational corporate buyers. WEConnect International corporate members represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power. It provides corporate members with a global database of women’s business enterprises and resources required to develop and leverage diverse and inclusive value chains.

About Vrutti:
Vrutti is a Centre for Sustainable Livelihoods, enhancing people’s well-being through knowledge, innovation and transformative actions. Towards this, the organization develops market-based models of development and builds on community strengths to promote a culture of entrepreneurship. We also work across levels and collaborate with partners to implement at scale, generate evidence and share knowledge for adoption. Vrutti engages with various types of organizations: Government, Multi-lateral and bi-lateral agencies, International and National Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs and NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Micro-finance institutions (MFIs), Women Owned Businesses (WOBs) and Corporate Organizations.

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For further information, please contact:

Rashmi Rajput, Fortuna PR: rashmi@fortunapr.com ; 9910023503

Sunita Patnaik, Walmart India: Sunita.Patnaik@walmart.com ; 9717171798