28 May 2008 | Jake Kanter
Buyers have been urged to open up contracts to small, women-owned businesses.
Sue Lawton, director of development at women-owned businesses group WEConnect, said purchasers should invest in female run suppliers because they bring diversity to the sourcing market and boost innovation.
"[Women-owned businesses] are efficient and trustworthy. They offer a different way of doing business, bringing passion to do a good job at a good price," she said.
She used the example of Debra Leary, who developed a product to change the way the police manage crime scenes.
Instead of using metal sheets to inspect scenes without disturbing evidence, she created plastic "stepping plates" to ease the process without compromising evidence protection and collection.
Lawton believes female-owned suppliers will generate greater revenue for firms in the future, because women are increasingly better educated, and there are more opportunities for them to enter business.
"Women will have a lot of financial power in the world and buyers should invest in them now," she told supplymanagement.com.
"Women have babies - that's unavoidable - but they want work that fits around this, so they are turning to self employment."
Lawton argued although the US is ahead of the UK in its support of supplier diversity, the government is starting to embrace the cause here.
In March it endorsed the efforts of WEConnect, recognising female entrepreneurs as an "untapped source of innovation and growth".