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Empowering women-led businesses through supplier diversity

Standard Chartered’s London HQ with the Bank’s logo.

8 Mar 2024

Home > News > Empowering women-led businesses through supplier diversity
We’re proud to support women-owned businesses like Bdazzaled as part of our commitment to supplier diversity. And the benefits go both ways.

Originally approached by Standard Chartered to help with product marketing and events, Bdazzaled owner and CEO Wanjiru Mugugu says the relationship has become so much more than just providing a service.  
As well as achieving financial growth, working with us has helped Wanjiru and her team transform their business practices to serve colleagues and clients better.   
“We wouldn’t have realised the gaps we had without Standard Chartered”, says Wanjiru. “We used to just focus on the numbers. Now we know it’s about helping our employees develop and empowering the whole business.” 

“It’s about helping our employees develop and empowering the whole business.”

Wanjiru Mugugu, CEO, Bdazzaled

Wanjiru believes the support she received, coupled with the Bank’s strict vendor requirements, gave her the focus, guidance, and impetus to keep moving forward.   
“We’ve restructured the company, the board, all our governance … I wouldn’t have done any of this otherwise”, she says.  
Beyond the opportunities to evolve her business, the relationship has also had a more personal impact on Wanjiru.  
“It’s helped me go back to school at 47”, she explains. “Having to upskill has pushed me to become a better version of myself”.  
In return, Wanjiru’s feedback has continuously challenged us as a Bank to deliver a better customer experience.  
“It’s sometimes been tough to hear, but it’s helped us reflect, grow and improve the consistency of our services,” admits Fidelis Solopian, Supply Chain Management (SCM) Specialist, East Africa.

A smiling woman in a yellow shirt runs an event.

A more intimate relationship

While both sides recognise onboarding smaller suppliers can take more effort, they hope this partnership encourages more companies to give it a go. Their advice? 
“You have to be ready to do the work and trust each other”, says Wanjiru. “Working with small businesses is a much more intimate relationship than with large corporates”. 
“Be bold. Be diligent. Don’t be afraid to go for it,” adds Naomi Mwangi, SCM Country Head, Kenya. “Reskill, upskill, be willing to change things”.  

“Reskill, upskill, be willing to change things”.  

Naomi Mwangi, SCM Country Head, Kenya

According to Wanjiru, suppliers can be assured of the Bank’s support every step of the way. “It’s great working with Fidelis and Naomi,” she says. “They really listen. I know they’re always just a phone call away”.  
Committed to paying her success forward, Wanjiru now leads by example, sharing her knowledge with others and allocating a portion of profits from every new contract to supporting over 60 homes in her local community.   
“Every time we get paid, we provide financial stability for our employees and their families. We buy maize flour for a local Maasai community in our neighbourhood. Our communities flourish, we keep going; women, businesses and families keep transforming.”   
She adds: “Standard Chartered’s culture has set a new benchmark for us … as a customer, a supplier, and a woman business owner, it makes a huge difference to me.”