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How to identify and take advantage of new opportunities for your business?

In this article we tell you how to recognize and capitalize on business opportunities, effectively driving your company's growth and innovation.

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Published by ConnectAmericas

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One of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is finding sourcing opportunities and knowing how to link up with large companies. Like every step you take in your business, becoming a large supplier is also a process that takes time and dedication, and is only possible if you take advantage of every opportunity and develop good processes.

Consider this: public and private sector procurement generates billions of dollars in economic activity and fuels global market interactions. Such is the scale of public procurement that it accounts for 12% of the world's Gross Domestic Product, according to a report by UN Women and the World Labor Organization.

We know that this panorama of opportunities is still limited for women business owners. Although there is not much data to measure this reality (due to the fact that most purchasers do not keep exhaustive track of how many of their suppliers are companies led by women), it is estimated that the supply businesses in the hands of women represent barely 1% of the purchases of large companies.

However, both public and private companies are already realizing that integrating women-owned businesses into their supply chains is not only good business, but also a way to support them and generate more inclusive processes that support diversity in their suppliers.

For example, Chile has policies to support women-owned businesses in its public procurement processes, and the United States has set a goal that 5% of its federal procurement spending will go to these types of companies, according to a UN Women report. 

In order for you to take advantage of the business opportunity of joining value chains or becoming a supplier to the government or large companies, on this occasion we will talk about some options that you can explore to find new clients, reach new markets and develop new products and services.

Strategies and alternative means to generate new business


Partnering with other companies is an opportunity for growth and can be a strategy to differentiate yourself from your competition. Basically, it is a form of cooperation between small and medium-sized companies without losing their autonomy and independence. 

Associativity has multiple advantages, such as reducing costs, increasing production capacity or the volume of supply, strengthening negotiation capacity with large buyers, complementing resources and even improving conditions when competing in bidding processes.

It also considers that complementing with other companies adds to the strengths of each one and can help all of them to reach the goal of becoming suppliers of large companies faster.

Of course, not all partnerships pursue the same objectives. However, any partnership project follows a plan of action. If you are considering this possibility, consider the following steps:

  1. Identify the need to partner: What do you want to partner for? What is the need you seek to address? What do you hope to achieve?
  2. Define the associative SWOT matrix.
  3. Look for potential partners, identifying common values and interests, points of difference and complementarity in the products or services they offer.
  4. Sell the idea of partnership to the owners of the companies with which you are seeking to associate.
  5. Define a protocol of understanding together with all the partners.
  6. Establish a work plan, with an objective, specific activities, times, responsibilities and deliverables.
  7. Generate success indicators to review the progress of the work plan and the alliance.

Partnership is not a perfect model and it is important to take into account possible risks when evaluating this option. Consider, for example, how the lack of a culture of cooperation, leadership and automation problems, lack of experience or confusion between the limits of partnership and individual actions could affect your sourcing objective.

If you decide to try this model, take the time to develop your partnership action plan. You can download this template, which is part of the materials you can find in the Supplier Development Program, available in the ConnectAmericas Academy.

Procurement portals

The Internet has facilitated access to online search platforms that offer business options, such as public and private tenders. Digital procurement portals are used by both governments and private companies to streamline their purchasing processes and better manage the relationship with their suppliers.

Although each portal has its own design, there are processes that are common to all, so we suggest you follow these steps to get started:

  1. Access the portal through the login link.
  2. Create a profile or enter your user data, which can be an email or phone number and a password.
  3. Upload the required documentation, which may be related to the company's incorporation, practices or finances.
  4. Confirm your details.
  5. Complete the profile section with your company details.
  6. Explore the portal to familiarize yourself with it and make sure you don't miss any opportunities.

Also remember to constantly review supplier portals and enable notifications so you don't miss any opportunities.

If you are interested in reviewing the procurement portals of the governments of different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, check this list that you can download.

We also recommend that you review the supplier portal that we have at ConnectAmericas, which offers opportunities to buy and sell products and services from different countries. The portal is organized by country and sector to facilitate the search for opportunities. 

We also recommend the WeConnect International platform, created to connect women-owned businesses with a network of women-led buyers and suppliers from around the world. 

Government Procurement

Selling to governments has several advantages, including the fact that it is a market with vast purchasing power, that the government is always an active client, even in times of crisis, and that it always pays (although it can take time). In addition, it is usually a sector that is little explored by SMEs.

If you are interested in participating in public tenders, here are some suggestions to help you take advantage of these opportunities: 

  • Register in the official sites of your country.
  • Organize your business, analyze the tenders and have your company's documentation up to date.
  • Start with small bids.
  • Make sure the conditions are profitable for your company.
  • Choose the best bidding areas.
  • Diversify your client portfolio.
  • If you have doubts, talk to the person who wrote the bid.
  • Follow up on your bid.
  • Be patient and learn from each attempt.

Business events

Business meetings, international exhibitions, trade missions and trade fairs are spaces that can also open up avenues for you as a supplier to large companies. 

Before attending one of these events, be clear about the following:

  1. What you expect and what you want to obtain.
  2. What are your investment costs (in time and money).
  3. What information you need to present your company.

On this last point we suggest you to consider these minimum aspects so that you can present your company and the services or products it offers in an effective way:

a) Personal presentation: Your name, position and responsibility in the company.

b) Company presentation: Name or company name, address, seniority and number of employees.

c) Company characteristics: Industry or activity, type of products you offer, production capacity, certifications and value proposition.

d) Commercial offer: Sales volume, markets served, main customers, website and added value.

Business events are a great opportunity to do business, whether you attend as an exhibitor or participant. Do not hesitate to take the opportunity to talk and negotiate with large buyers, this will allow you to better understand their requirements and will open the way for you to join their supply chain.

If you are interested in learning more about these options, we recommend you consult Module 3 of the Supplier Development Program, available in the ConnectAmericas Academy.

Remember that the search for growth opportunities is part of the development of your business and of you as an entrepreneur. In addition, by positioning yourself as a supplier to large companies or governments, you will also contribute to making the participation of women-owned businesses in local and global supply chains more visible.



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