black England, black london

Women Enterprise and Procurement and reception in UK Parliament

Tuesday 20 April 2010, Panel 5pm for 5.30pm start/ Reception 7.15pm-9pm
House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW

If Women Business Owners were their own country, they would be the 5th largest GDP in the world.* Most of their businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SME) which find it difficult to access public sector contracts.

Part of the problem in the UK is the simplification of the procurement process following on from the Gershon Review of 2004/05. The big companies (Tier One) win the contracts and subcontract some of the work to smaller companies (Tier Two). But all too often, this leads to an unfair relationship and the smaller businesses effectively carry the risk – and debts – for the larger contractor. The burden can cause SMEs to go out of business altogether. What should the UK Government do about it?

WiPP in the US successfully lobbied their Government for legislative changes resulting in a better deal for SMEs. Now, at least 23% of Government procurement must go to SMEs and at least 5% must go to women owned businesses. Should the UK do the same?

Is there a private sector solution? For example, WEConnect is already connecting women owned companies with large corporations. They seek to create sustainable economic growth by increasing the opportunities for women-owned businesses to succeed in the global value chain.

And what about Directives and Laws from Europe? Should the discussion be taking place there rather than in Britain? The Genesis Initiative believes so and is working to achieve reform of all EU Government SME Procurement Law.

Chaired by:

Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
WiPP Co-chairman

Discussion Panel:

Jennifer Biscegli
WiPP (US) Board Director, President of InTEROS Solutions Inc

Joy Nichols MBE
CEO, GMB2 Group and Member of the Genesis Initiative

Nieves Childerley
Senior Procurement Manager, London Development Agency

Virginia Littlejohn
CEO of Quantum Leaps, and Chairman of TradeBuilders Inc

Elizabeth Vazquez
Executive Director WEConnect International, and President of TradeBuilders Inc

Sue Lawton
CEO, WEConnect Europe

Marie-Christine Oghly
President and European Commissioner FCEM (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs), & President of EnginSoft, France

Dagmar Steinmetz
Assistant Secretary General FCEM, and Managing Director DDS Consult GmbH, Germany

Register online at www.womeninpublicpolicy.org

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