Mauritian woman facing a man who is holding a stone home décor sample.

Ten women in handicrafts shine at leading global consumer goods fair

29 February 2024
ITC News

The women-led businesses exhibited their handicrafts, home and fashion products at the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, securing new buyers and fresh leads.

Women entrepreneurs face compounded barriers to accessing global markets, from insufficient market information to exclusion from male-dominated business networks.

Attending trade fairs can forge new industry connections, increase brand visibility and unlock new market opportunities for women-led businesses.

On 26 – 30 January, International Trade Centre (ITC) supported 10 women entrepreneurs from ITC SheTrades Hubs in Bangladesh, The Gambia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius, the Philippines, and the Caribbean region, namely Barbados and Saint Lucia, to exhibit at Ambiente.

ITC organized a four-part webinar and mentoring programme for the participants and created a business catalogue to feature their businesses in the months leading up to the event.

During these sessions – which were tailored to both the European Union and UK handicrafts markets – participants gained insights to help them confidently navigate logistics, customs, pricing strategies, product presentation and sustainability requirements.

For Nawshin Khair, founder of Bangladeshi sustainable clothing and home décor company, Aranya Crafts, ITC’s pre-trade fair programme allowed her to anticipate common questions that buyers would ask.

‘I learned that my pricing strategies for businesses and consumers should be different,’ said Khair. ‘My products piqued the interest of many visitors and I was able to eloquently respond to their queries as a result of the preparation we received.’

Khair connected with a Swedish buyer who took sample products and plans to order from Aranya Crafts.

Four other entrepreneurs from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya and Barbados also received orders at the event.

One of them was Pt Greenie, an Indonesian handicrafts business led by Ika Juliana. Pt Greenie secured orders from buyers in the United States and Germany—both new markets for the company.

‘Ambiente is a perfect fit for our products,’ said Juliana. ‘Not only did we connect with customers, but we also gained valuable insights for our business growth.’

The exhibitors also received the Ambassador of the Philippines to Germany, H.E. Irene Susan B. Natividad, and two representatives from the British High Commission in Germany at the ITC booth.  

The trade fair opportunity and the preparatory sessions were organized by the SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme, which is funded by the UK International Development.

The programme will soon support the launch of the 18th SheTrades Hub – and 7th in Africa – which will be hosted by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority.

About ITC SheTrades Hubs

ITC SheTrades Hubs are resource centres dedicated to women entrepreneurs and implemented in partnership with the ITC SheTrades Initiative.

Hosted by leading in-country or regional institutions, SheTrades Hubs offer women entrepreneurs the knowledge, skills and platform to access market and investment opportunities.

We bring together a community of partners to scale up resources and initiatives to support women in trade.

About ITC SheTrades

The SheTrades Initiative, the flagship ITC women and trade programme, aims to remove barriers to women's participation in trade by working with governments, the private sector, and entrepreneurs to build the business capacities of women and to create a fairer, more sustainable global economy.