Walmart Launches Online Site That Connects Shoppers with Products Supporting Small Women-Owned Businesses Around the World

 Walmart Launches Online Site That Connects Shoppers with Products Supporting
                Small Women-Owned Businesses Around the World

Empowering Women Together is Another Initiative in Advancing Walmart's
Commitment to Global Women's Economic Empowerment

PR Newswire

BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 7, 2013

BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart today launched an
online destination on that gives shoppers who want to buy unique
and interesting products the opportunity to do so while supporting small
women-owned businesses around the world. With each purchase, consumers lift
and empower the women behind these products to create new jobs and improve
both their own lives and the lives of their families and communities. At
launch, Empowering Women Together will offer shoppers more than 200 items from
19 businesses in nine countries.

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"Empowering Women Together is a simple concept; it connects shoppers in the
United States with quality products made by women-owned businesses around the
world," said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president, Walmart. "And in doing
that, it helps achieve so much more. Through Walmart's Empowering Women
Together, customers can help these suppliers increase their incomes, better
their lives and create new jobs for others, and Walmart can help these
suppliers gain experience with buying trends, scaling, product development and
acumen they need to build their businesses."

"As merchants, we're always looking for new products to share with our
customers that are quality, on-trend and priced right," said Kelly Thompson,
senior vice president of merchandising, "The products from the
Empowering Women Together collection deliver all of that while also giving our
customers the chance to do good with their dollars – it's a positive and
powerful proposition for everyone."

Empowering Women Together will be part of Store for Good, a developing program dedicated to connecting consumers with products that do
good for other people, for themselves, or for our environment. The initiative
will grow and potentially include eco-friendly products and healthier food

Each of the businesses participating in Empowering Women Together is fueled by
women with inspiring stories. No two stories are alike. Challenges such as
poverty, lack of education, domestic abuse and physical limitations are
common. What each supplier shares is a drive to build a better future.
Empowering Women Together will give Joy Ndungutse, an entrepreneur in Rwanda,
and many women like her around the world the opportunity they never thought
they'd have – to begin or greatly expand their access to shoppers in America.

"From a humble beginning under a tree in a remote village in Rwanda, my sister
and I founded Gahaya Links after the devastating 1994 Rwanda Genocide that
left over 1 million dead," said Joy Ndungutse. "We organized about 20 women
with a vision of empowering them to enhance their weaving skills, to be able
to earn an income, and live adequately by community standards. Today we are a
growing network of over 4,000 women, the majority of whom are genocide
survivors and are organized in cooperatives throughout Rwanda. Through our
partnership with Full Circle Exchange and opportunities such as Empowering
Women Together, this platform gives hope to many families in Rwanda and we are
so grateful."

Empowering Women Together is also dedicated to helping U.S.-based women-owned
businesses grow and expand their distribution. Nine of the initial 19
Empowering Women Together businesses are U.S. based.

"Women's Bean Project was inspired while our founder volunteered at a local
women's shelter," said Tamra Ryan, CEO of Women's Bean Project. "The women
she met wanted to work their own way up and out of poverty, but didn't have
the skills to find or keep work. So, she decided to start a business to teach
them how."

From an initial $500 investment and two employees, Women's Bean Project has
grown to employ hundreds with an operating budget in excess of $2 million and
products that include salsa mixes, spice rubs, coffee beans, soups, chili,
gift baskets and jewelry. "Women's Bean Project does more than produce great
merchandise; it teaches women job readiness and life skills, and helps them
with their basic needs to build a better life - that's what has fueled our

In addition to merchandise from Gahaya Links and Women's Bean Project, the
inaugural Empowering Women Together collection also includes jewelry from
Peru, Rwanda, Kenya and the U.S.; home accessories from Rwanda and Haiti;
paper mache from Haiti, apparel and accessories from Rwanda; iPad and laptop
cases from Cambodia and Nepal; coffee and tea sets sourced globally and made
in America; and specialty foods made in America and Canada. The full
collection can be viewed online at

To help empower the women behind these products, Walmart is applying the same
model for making a difference that it has used to take on other social issues
such as hunger, accessibility to healthy foods and sustainability. An
important part of that model is partnering with organizations that share the
same goals and bring expertise and leadership to problem-solving. Walmart's
initial partners for Empowering Women Together include Full Circle Exchange
and Global Goods Partners.

"Walmart and Full Circle share a common mission to empower women through
commerce, allowing them to work their way out of poverty in ways that are both
sustainable and dignified," said Mark Priddy, CEO and cofounder, Full Circle
Exchange. "By focusing on poverty reduction through job creation and access to
global markets, we believe that, when equipped with the proper resources,
women have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of

"Our goal is to help strengthen women-led development initiatives for
marginalized communities in Asia, Africa and the Americas," said Jennifer
Gootman, executive director of not-for-profit Global Goods Partners. "Women
all over the world are overcoming enormous challenges to join together and
support each other in small business enterprises to better themselves, their
families, and their communities."

Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative
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

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.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and
live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through
their mobile devices. Each week, more than 200 million customers and members
visit our more than 10,500 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and
e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2013 sales of
approximately $466 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates
worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate
philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart
can be found by visiting, on Facebook at on Twitter at Online merchandise sales are available at

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