Amazon Marketplace is inviting women business owners to Seattle in August to give them help with growing their businesses on Amazon. “This unique opportunity will allow women business owners to interact directly with Amazon leadership and network with other entrepreneurs,” according to the invitation.
The inaugural Amazon Marketplace Women’s Entrepreneur Conference will be held on August 16, 2016, at Amazon’s global headquarters. The full-day event will include panel discussions with successful Amazon sellers and leaders. It will also include workshops conducted by Amazon employees.
Maria Renz will keynote the event. Renz is Vice President and Technical Advisor to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the first woman to hold that role, as ReCode noted last year.
During her 15 years at Amazon, Renz has held key roles including running Amazon subsidiary Quidsi (Diapers.com) and launching and serving as president of MYHABIT.com.
A seller on the Amazon discussion boards expressed disappointment that the conference was for women sellers, writing, “I fail to see what challenges women are meeting selling on Amazon that I am not.”
Another seller said he was jealous – “How about the men who have been selling on the Marketplace for the last 5-10 years? The last time I can remember an Amazon run conference for Marketplace Sellers is … Never.”
However, as the Seattle Times reported, Amazon just concluded its 3rd conference for sellers where 500 merchants were coached on “how to grow their businesses, hear about where things are going, and air their hopes and concerns in the presence of Amazon brass.”
While the invitation mentions it’s for women business owners, it appears to be inclusive – it provides a form where it asks attendees to select Ms., Miss, Mrs., or Mr.
Given the under-representation of women at industry conferences, it may be Amazon’s way of trying to reach women sellers proactively. We reached out to Amazon for more information and will update this story if we receive a response.