Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is celebrating inspiring and ambitious women entrepreneurs around the world.

This is the story of Nina in India. She is one of over 2,000 women entrepreneurs who have been part of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Women in Business Programme.

Nina and her husband run a company called Fresh Express Logistics, which exports locally-harvested grapes to Europe. As Nina lives in a drought-prone region of India, she is also working to collect, store and use rainwater and encourage her fellow farmers to take up responsible farming and water use practices. Nina was facing challenges with marketing her products and handling clients. She joined the Foundation’s Mentoring Programme to gain support in these areas.

Nina was matched with Tracy, a research analyst and knowledge manager in Marsh & McLennan Companies’ risk management practice, based in the UK. The pair worked together to create an expansion strategy to help Nina widen her export base. As a result, Nina began exporting her products to the Balkans and started exploring opportunities in the UK, Ireland and Baltic region. Nina was often hesitant to make tough decisions, so Tracy also supported her to build her confidence in this area. As a result of securing new clients and accessing new markets, Nina’s revenue grew by over 30% during her year in the programme and she was able to hire two new employees.

Nina said that Tracy helped her think more objectively about her business. She also gained confidence to make tough decisions, such as letting go of one customer whose business was proving unprofitable. She said, “Tracy has always been very encouraging and supportive. She asks all the right questions which get me thinking.” Since finishing the programme, Nina has established an association of 25 local farmers and works with them to export their goods. She is also supporting 15-20 local women to get involved in farming.

Tracy also found great value in her mentoring experience and said she took away as much from their meetings as Nina did, especially conversations they had around making better-informed, pragmatic decisions. She said, “Nina’s determination, commitment and pro-activeness has been inspiring. Participating in the programme has also been a timely reminder to step back and look at my own role and development.”

Photographer & Videographer Credit: Atul Loke
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  • Wanyana Racheal
    They say finding a good mentor is a key element to a successful entrepreneurial journey.  Nina was lucky to find one who made a perfect match with her needs. If more girls and Women would have such an opportunity.  We sure will be well on our way to economic empowerment as women.  great story.
  • Neatness Muze Msemo
    This is real encouraging story we need more women like Nina Blair and others.
  • Epamba Comfort
    Thank you for the inspiration
  • Nina Patil
    Thank you so much for all your encouragement and support, feel truly blessed .  It's this tremendous women power and unstinting support from my team of ladies, my family and the Cherie Blair foundation which has kept me going through all the ups and downs.  It is a long journey and miles to go before we sleep but I'm enjoying the ride. I would love to share and connect with anyone who may be interested. " Yes, we can do it " !
  • Karuna Parajuli
    A person needs a true mentor is every phase of life.  Salute to the initiators of this program.Such Mentorship program can be replicated in other places too.
  • Peggy Tse
    Mentorship is a great way to inspire young ladies and give them courage to pursue their dreams! It creates a legacy that strengthens the social capital among women across ages and generations (which by the way that is how other social classes work to maintain their status or privileges).

    Time and patience is required to nurture a mentoring relationship. Some women have access to it but may not know the best way to take advantage of this. We should also share with each other the best practices to maximize the relationship in long run and turn it into a mutually beneficial one for both mentors and mentees. 
  • Natalie Magee
    Mentoring from another woman provides not only knowledge and power but also a role model for young female entrepreneurs.  It sounds like a fantastic program with evident benefits. 
  • Mirha Omerović
    This is great example of how mentoring can be powerful and influence both sides of the story! Amazing and inspiring example.
  • Oluwafunbi Alatise
    Mentorship in entrepreneurship development is a crucial factor. Emerging entrepreneurs have great potentials in them which need to be fired out like a strike of a match stick.
    Nina's commitment and humility to acquiring more skills are applauded.
  • Consolata Chikoti
    Nina is an incredible woman, i believe that the world has a lot of outstanding women, it is our duty that we make their great contribution for the betterment of their fellow women and the world to be known so that their achievement and struggle can motivate, inspire and engineer changes in the society.
  • Betty Mbithi
    A good job there by Nina,farming is one area that has been forgetten and if more women could embrace it,we will make steps towards economic growth.
  • Majesté Nkundimfura
    Such Nina's nice story that everyone should learn from! Thanks for sharing this. #EWChampion4change
  • Ibukun Babarinde
    Such an inspiring story for all to learn from. We can learn from little things around us.
  • Aisha Acres
    Mentorship is so important in the entrepreneurial process and it's great to see that Nina is paying it forward!
  • Marium Ullah
    Amazing initiative! Very inspiring 
  • Dhara Patel
    inspirational for all who lose courage being woman.
  • Moureen Njule Eseme
    Great initiative
  • Robert Michira Oichi
    Women working together and supporting each other is the best way of achieving WEE vision.
  • Olga Rajchikj
    Truly inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it with us.
  • Mwabi Moyo
    Nice story. Very encouraging. After getting the support she needed she is able to support other women too. That is the best thing we can do as women. It is not enough to be empowered , we need to empower others as well. 
    Congratulations Nina.
  • LUCIA NGAIZA
    That is very inspiring, as I have started my journey this november with cherie blair foundation, hoping to learn alot from my mentorship period. There is a power in mentoring.
    • Robert Michira Oichi
      We wish u the best Lucia. I know through that mentorship program you will be able to make positive impact on WEE. Looking forward to learning from your experience.
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  • Ijeoma Deborah Egbom Okechukwu
    Interesting....Nina you have inspired and taught me an idea or two
  • BELLY ORONDO
    Good work Nina,this is what we women need to emulate,empowering fellow women with the skills we have.
  • Dr Rejoice Shumba
    What an interesting read. It is fascinating to see that mentorship can be a success even if it is across continets as well as cross cultural.
  • Peony Chan
    Congratz to Nina's success in her business with Tracy's help and hopefully more women can benefit from the growing mentor programme!
  • Ogbeyalu Okoye
    This is an amazing example of how women can grow and expand through mentoring. Cherie Blair foundation is one of the women organizations I loved working in as a mentor. You learn through mentoring and gain much knowledge. Working together as women brings great innovation and thinking which helps find solutions and creates a channel to expand one's business. Thanks for sharing Nina.
  • Alaeddine Oueslati
    Inspiring and motivating! Thank you for sharing this with us. It gives a true exmaple of commitment and determination that many women in the world need to know about and learn from. I hope more stories like this can be shared, especially with less privileged women. 
  • Yande Kalengo
    Amazing read and a practical example of female economic empowerment. Well done Nina and Tracy!
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