Walmart’s Women’s Empowerment Program has many facets. One is Empowering Women Together, an initiative to spotlight products designed and produced by small, woman-owned businesses. The media presentation shows exotic women handcrafting unique products, but Walmart’s statement says, “At launch, we are concentrating on suppliers with very little or limited access to customers. Most will have revenues of $10 million or less and fewer than 300 stores selling their products.”
If most have revenues of $10 million or less, not all suppliers would think of this as a small business venture. However, it offers an alternate route to getting on the shelf for women-owned businesses.
The products are featured in a special online store, and the marketing focuses on the social benefits of the project. In fact, the majority of the products come from the Women’s Bean Project, a company that employs women who find it hard to gain employment — 95%, according to a Fast Company article, are felons.
Another supplier company for the project is Roominate, a pair of engineers who designed a dollhouse building toy intended to set girls on the path to engineering. With Lean Launchpad, XStart, Maker Faire, Get on the Shelf, and Kickstarter in their history, the engineers formed Maykah and got their product into online and brick and mortar venues including Empowering Women Together.
How can you get in on this? If you’re a woman-owned business, you should take these steps:
- Go to www.corporate.walmart.com/suppliers
- Choose “Apply to be a supplier”
- Choose “National Product Suppliers (U.S. Only),”even if you are not in the U.S.
- Go through the normal product submission process and say “yes” when asked if you are a Minority or Women Owned business.
- Choose “women-owned business” from the drop down menu and enter “Empowering Women Together” in the buyer name field.
Keep track of your applicant ID number.