P&G Supplier Development Academy: Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to Strengthen Business Skills

07 December 2021

P&G Supplier Development Academy: Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to Strengthen Business Skills

P&G Japan, We Connect International, and TBWA\HAKUHODO will be holding “P&G Supplier Academy” for one month in February 2022 for women entrepreneurs (the leaders or executives of the companies with at least 51% of shares owned by women)!

For the growth of society and the promotion of innovation, diversity of corporations and leaders is essential. However, women entrepreneurs and leaders still face huge barriers to expanding their businesses and entering the global supply chain. In response, P&G Global and We Connect International have designed “P&G Supplier Development Academy” to support women leaders in strengthening the skills necessary for business success. So far the program has been implemented in various countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa. In Japan, TBWA\HAKUHODO collaborated in the planning and operation of the program, and the first Academy was held in September 2020.

In the first year, 17 women entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries such as language education, fair trade, career support, fashion, and chemical industry, and from various ages and regions, enthusiastically participated in the lectures and discussions or presentations.

P&G Supplier Development Academy: Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to Strengthen Business Skills

This year’s curriculum will include leadership training, marketing communications, business planning, global procurement processes, and promoting DE&I. The program is designed to provide the knowledge and expertise of P&G Japan, We Connect International and TBWA\HAKUHODO. There will also be keynote speeches by Mr. Stanislav Vecera, President of P&G Japan and one of the leading women entrepreneurs in Japan, as well as panel discussions with participants of last year’s program.

The graduates of the 2020 program who are still in close contact with each other have been applying what they learned in the Academy that resulted in successful business results. We asked five of the participants about their impressions of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Academy and what they have been up to since then!

The written interview was done with these five participants!
・IBS Japan, President and CEO, Ayako Mochizuki
・Meiyu Sangyo, Executive Managing Director, Kaori Nishiguchi
・Nippon Seikei, Representative Director, Yuko Takahashi
・Fukuichi – Love&Sense, Representative Director, Tamae Takatsu
・Masscoal, President and CEO, Junco Sakai
・My Business Service, President and CEO, Chiseko Murata

“What is your objective?”
Q. What was the most impressive thing in the academy?

Mochizuki: For me, the most impressive thing was the opening presentation by President of P&G Japan on the first day of the program. I was struck by the fact that the head of the large corporation – that almost seemed like the epitome of capitalism – says that “the most important thing for the growth of a company is building human relations.” It made me realize that all types of organizations struggle with this issue, not just for small and medium-sized companies. His speech encouraged me to think that even a small company like us can also become an impactful company and that there is more we can do to do our best.

Nishiguchi: All curriculum was logical, clear, useful for business, and insightful. In particular, my company has not been very good at marketing due to the nature of the industry, but the marketing lecture from TBWA\HAKUHODO was very interesting. Currently, I am trying to think of ways to create new businesses to put “Core” and “More” into practice, even with limited resources.

Takahashi: The phrase “What is your objective?” was what stuck with me most from the program. I was curious to know how P&G, a company with such a long history and a global scale with rich diversity, has been able to align the core philosophy of management within the company. And during the program, one of the lecturers repeatedly said, “What is your objective?” – he said that this was the phrase he heard the most when he joined P&G and that everything starts from there. I was reminded of the importance of clarifying what you are aiming for, for what purpose.

Takatsu: The presentation that was given at the end of the program, where each participant had to sell their products to P&G was most memorable and impressive for me. We had to review our own business, find out the needs of our customers using the steps and analysis we’ve learned in the program, and create our own services. The whole process of putting it all together in a concise presentation served as an intense learning output. After the online presentation, we also received individual evaluations from the P&G members. I think their feedback after listening carefully to our presentations further expanded our possibilities, confirmed our learning, further increased our motivation and gave us the courage to take our business one step further.

Sakai: From the presentation by the President of P&G Japan to the precious time I spent with the P&G, TBWA\HAKUHODO people who are demonstrating leadership in each front-line team was of course helpful in terms of the technical aspects and skills development. But above all, I was inspired by their way of being and received many insights and lessons each time! Their calm judgment and positive, heartfelt mindset were beyond words!

P&G Supplier Development Academy: Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to Strengthen Business Skills

“The change in the organization starts from the change in myself”
Q. Is there anything that you learned in the program that you still practice today?

Mochizuki: It is the “5E Leadership Model*”. At first, I thought that this was also something that would only be applicable to large companies, but as I listened to the lecture, I began to think that it could actually be done to equip all of our company’s employees with this kind of leadership mindset. On the following week, I presented this 5E model at an internal meeting and discussed which parts we already have and which parts we are lacking. I started off by sharing the “parts I am lacking” and it made the employees able to share their thoughts more comfortably – it was such a great and memorable discussion.

* 5E Leadership Model: Envision, Engage, Energize, Enable, Execute

Takahashi: I also immediately held “the 5E model study session” in my company before I forgot what I had learned! And the leaders of the company understood the philosophy very clearly and took it seriously. The 5Es include the key points of the process of “whatever you do, first clarify where you want to go and then start preparing”. This has made the atmosphere in my company that if we plan according to the 5E method we could reach our goal. Using this method I have launched a project to increase company holidays.

Nishiguchi: In the presentation feedback we received, we learned how important it is to create a presentation that the listeners want, and how important it is to have content that leads to closing a deal. In my company, we promptly redesigned our presentation materials and our website based on the feedback, and we have seen a significant increase in new business negotiations since then!

“It’s not the size of the company that makes a good company”
Q. Do you have any comments for those who are interested in applying for the academy this year?

Mochizuki: The instructors of the program always insisted that “diversity of employees and suppliers is a strategy.”
I could tell this belief permeated every corner of the company, from the words and actions of the P&G members, to hiring and training, product strategy, and everywhere in between. It was an amazing opportunity for me to think that if a large global company can do it, there is no reason why a company like ours with about 40 employees cannot do it. This training made me realize that it is not the size of the company that makes a good company, and made me envision how to make my company a great company. There are so much to learn in this program – I highly recommend challenging yourself for it!

Nishiguchi: The high level of facilitation skills of the organizers, as well as the presentations and various ways of thinking of the participating women leaders, are a must-see and must-listen. This academy will bring about realizations that will overturn your self-concept. I recommend it to all women entrepreneurs who want to push forward positively.

Murata: From leadership to dealing with global companies, the curriculum was so extensive and enlightening that it made me wonder how so much know-how could be taught in this concise program. I feel that we can express our gratitude by taking advantage of this opportunity to practice what we learned and grow our business.

Takahashi: All of the seminars were practical and all of the content could be incorporated immediately. It was very stimulating to encounter a global company with a long history, which I would not normally be in a position to interact with, which I am grateful for.
Now, when I plan something new, I refer to the 5Es model, and I try to instruct my employees to make sure that their plans are in line with the 5Es as well. Though it is not perfect yet, I am hoping that I will master it as I put it into action repeatedly. Thank you again for the opportunity.

Takatsu: It was the opportunity to learn directly from P&G, a company with unparalleled marketing power. The lecturers were from various sections of the company and provided us with valuable time to learn about logical thinking backed up by data analysis, social networking to connect the times, and real work experience. I am sure it will be a wonderful opportunity for every women entrepreneur who has difficulty in getting a bird’s eye view of the world.

Sakai: Looking back now, it was a rich and mellow time filled with not only business skills but also essential life learning. I am looking forward to meeting my future colleagues who will take on the challenges of the 5E-mind women entrepreneur network that will spread from the P&G Academy one day! Please take the chance and experience it!


P&G Supplier Development Academy: Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to Strengthen Business Skills

P&G Japan, We Connect International, and TBWA\HAKUHODO will continue to engage in various activities to support women entrepreneurs with the aim of realizing a society where all people can fulfill their full potential.

Communication Team (koho@tbwahakuhodo.co.jp)