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Give a Mother’s Day gift with meaning

5/2/2014, 6 a.m.
In time for Mother’s Day, Walmart expands its Empowering Women Together product offering of unique and meaningful gifts that will ...
In time for Mother’s Day, Walmart expands its Empowering Women Together product offering of unique gifts that will celebrate moms everywhere while supporting small women-owned businesses from around the world. Courtesy Photo

In time for Mother’s Day, Walmart expands its Empowering Women Together product offering of unique and meaningful gifts that will celebrate moms everywhere while supporting small women-owned businesses from around the world. The retailer announced it is increasing the availability of products created by small women-owned businesses beyond its current online platform into more than 2,600 stores nationwide— a move that provides abundant opportunities to women’s businesses and furthers Walmart’s efforts to help improve women’s lives.

Tremendous progress has been made for women in business, yet there are still a number of barriers to overcome. According to the EY “Growing Beyond” report, currently in the United States 46 percent of privately held firms are now at least half-owned by women, but these businesses often have difficulty scaling up. In fact, enterprises owned by men, are more than three times as likely to reach $1 million in annual revenue. The Empowering Women Together program is part of Walmart’s larger commitment to increase sourcing from women-owned businesses. Other goals include sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses for its U.S. business and double sourcing from women suppliers for the international markets where it does business.

“Empowering Women Together began as an online platform one year ago, and this spring we are bringing select products in-store. By offering these products in-store, several small women-owned businesses will now have access to more than an estimated 100 million shoppers. We are excited to offer this opportunity to both our customers and suppliers,” stated MiKaela Wardlaw Lemmon, senior director of Women’s Economic Empowerment at Walmart. “Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the special women in our lives. This Mother’s Day assortment allows our customers to give gifts that will not only wow mom, but uplift women around the world.”

Walmart, in collaboration with Full Circle Exchange, an innovative social enterprise brand, has identified five suppliers to bring these new products into Walmart stores this spring including, Caribbean Craft, Fidenzo Designs, Nirmal, Soreh Designs and women refugees employed at Full Circle’s facility in Boise, Idaho. For the first time, as a part of Walmart’s Empowering Women Together initiative, these small women-owned businesses from the U.S., Peru, Haiti and India are being introduced to an entirely new audience of shoppers— Walmart shoppers nationwide. Among the nearly 50 products available in stores this week are scarves, aprons, mugs, chocolate gift sets and greeting cards. To find out which Walmart stores will be offering these Empowering Women Together products or to purchase products online, visit: www.walmart.com/empoweringwomentogether.

“At Full Circle Exchange we strive to empower women and communities with job creation, improved incomes, access to global markets, job skills and education,” said Mark Priddy, co-founder and CEO of Full Circle Exchange. “We are excited to be working with Walmart this Mother’s Day to expand our reach to a larger audience of in-store shoppers, and as a result, we expect to see positive impacts on the women and communities where these products are made. Walmart has created new opportunities for these women-owned businesses that would have otherwise not been possible.”

Empowering Women Together originally launched in March 2013 as an online platform with 19 suppliers representing nine countries and more than 200 items. Since launch, Empowering Women Together has grown to more than 30 suppliers in 11 different countries with more than 350 products. Learn more about Walmart’s Empowering Women Together program here: http://www.walmart.com/cp/Empowering-Women-Together/1094926 and Walmart’s overall Global Women’s Economic Initiative here: http://foundation.walmart.com/our-focus/womens-empowerment/

In September 2011, Walmart announced its global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative. The program’s key goals were formed through conversations with leaders from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic groups and academia and include increasing sourcing from women-owned businesses, empowering nearly 1 million women through training, and promoting diversity and inclusion representation within our merchandise and professional services suppliers. Empowering Women Together is part of this initiative’s 5-year commitment through 2016 to source $20 billion from women-owned businesses.

In addition to these key focus areas, Walmart will support its Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative with more than $100 million in grants that drive progress against its goals. Funding will come from the Walmart Foundation and donations directly from Walmart’s international businesses.