Celebrating women’s empowerment across the Commonwealth

11 March 2019
ITC News
Meet the women entrepreneurs seizing business success from being part of the DFID-funded SheTrades in the Commonwealth project.

Since joining ITC SheTrades in the Commonwealth project in 2018, Belo Luxury Travel has benefitted from numerous online trainings, webinars and trade fairs funded by the UK Department for International Development and delivered by ITC’s SheTrades in the Commonwealth project, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

In the past two years, the company has considerably increased their services offerings and tripled their workforce, from two to ten employees. The rapid growth of Belo Luxury Travel has not only created employment for more women but has also improved the livelihoods of local craftsmen and women who, through a fair-trade agreement, earn 75% of profits from all crafts sold by the company.

‘I would like to thank ITC SheTrades and DFID for the past and present opportunities that the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project has given to me. This has significantly contributed to not only the growth of my company but also me as an individual,’ said Rose Topisia, Chief Executive Officer of Belo Luxury Travel.

Ghanaian beauty products

Tumte Essentials is a company that supplies natural shea and beauty products in Ghana.

Tumte Essentials involvement in capacity building activities provided by International Trade Centre’s SheTrades in the Commonwealth project, and funded by UK DFID, has boosted the company's business potentials at international trade fairs by connecting the company with international buyers. At the Professional Beauty trade show in South Africa, Tumte Essentials secured 30 buyer meetings, which resulted in significant sales leads.

Tumte essential sources raw materials locally and in this way it contributes to providing sustainable livelihoods for rural women in the Upper West Region of Ghana.

Mawuko Fumey, Managing Director of Tumte Essentials, said: ‘The SheTrades in the Commonwealth project has provided my company with international exposure and opportunities to network with other women in the shea industry. This has helped me develop a strong business growth and sustainability strategy.’

Bangladeshi tech success

Opus Technology is a leading software development and IT service provider company that is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Since joining the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project, OPUS Technology has received comprehensive pre-departure training and financial support from ITC to attend the CEBIT ASEAN 2018, an international trade fair in Thailand, allowing the company to connect with international buyers and increase its competitiveness. At CEBIT, Opus Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a big international buyer and also increased its overall projected sales by approximately US$40,000.

Growing success

SuperTel Limited is an IT and business process outsourcing company based in Dhaka, Bangladesh and a member of the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project.

‘The International Trades Centre’s SheTrades in the Commonwealth project played a vital role in the success of my business this year and has helped me generate numerous business opportunities and implement new ideas,’ said Emrana Khan, Founder of SuperTel.

Thanks to funding from DFID, SheTrades in the Commonwealth provided comprehensive training and support for SuperTel to attend CEBIT ASEAN 2018. At CEBIT ASEAN, SuperTel connected with several buyers and generated US$ 35,000 worth of trade leads.

‘The highlight of the trade fair was the matchmaking meetings. Due to this opportunity, we secured a potential client for our business who have since visited us in Bangladesh,’ said Khan.

Through B2B opportunities facilitated by SheTrades in the Commonwealth, SuperTel has hired six new employees to keep up with client demand.

Knowing, first hand, the challenges of working in a male dominated industry, Emrana has made a point of championing other women.

‘Today, more than 60% of our employees are females and 70% of our executive team are women,’ she said.

Kenyan coffee

As a member of the DFID funded ITC SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme, Sakami Coffee, a Kenyan based coffee supplier, exhibited at the Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa Global Industry Expo (COTECA) in 2018. Attending COTECA enabled Sakami Coffee to diversify their network and meet with key stakeholders, resulting in a Finnish buyer purchasing the company’s entire annual coffee supply on the first day of the trade fair.

‘I am very excited to have expanded my network and connect with important stakeholders from across the global coffee supply chain - from the farm to the roasters,’ said Gloria WamalwaGummerus, Director of Sakami Coffee.

Tapping into tourism opportunities

Brogibro Safaris & Event Management, a Kenyan tourism provider, has tapped in to three new international markets including Bulgaria, China and Turkey, following their exhibition in three world leading tourism trade fairs. As a result of DFID’s support to the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project, Brogibro Safaris & Events Management has grown rapidly.

‘We have benefitted greatly from the international exposure at both WTM London and WTM Africa where, with the help of SheTrades in the Commonwealth, we have generated more than US$ 120,000 in sales,’ said Ruth Owino, Managing Director of Brogibro Safaris & Event Management.

The SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme has also supported selected women entrepreneurs to participate in other leading industry fairs. In 2018, at WTM London, another tourism trade fair, eighteen women entrepreneurs from Ghana and Kenya met with 40 international buyers and generated over US$ 4,600,000 in new trade leads. These initial contracts are expected to lay the groundwork for future purchases.