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FROM A B2B SESSION IN LIVERPOOL TO A BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT

This is the success story of two women-owned and women-led businesses; Contes de Flore and Organic Trade and Investments (OTI).


All it took was an interaction during a business event outside their respective countries for the two companies to realise the potential of their individual strengths. They would later come to know that they could achieve even more if they joined forces.


It was in 2017, around the time Organic Trade & Investments was officially launched, when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Esther Ama Asante, upon receiving an invitation to the SheTrades event held by the International Trade Centre (ITC).


Subsequently in 2018, Esthy joined a Business-to-Business (B2B) session in Liverpool. A forward thinking Esthy who had sent some samples of OTI’s authentic cocoa and shea butters impressed the people she interacted with. One of them was Preeti Bedi, founder of Contes de Flore, an Indian cosmetics company.


Esthy recounts how Preeti was “much impressed with what we had”. They decided to stay in touch when they returned to their respective countries to follow up on their conversation.


“Preeti and I had a B2B session, which was just about 15 to 20 minutes of talk, but then from there, we said since we connected so well, we would keep chatting after the session. And so we exchanged business cards,” she narrated.


That was exactly what happened. Esthy and Preeti kept exchanging emails every other month.


Since they were both eager to learn more about how to work with each other, the relationship was natural. Although Preeti was enthusiastic about purchasing some products from her new client (OTI), she was unsure about how to transport goods all the way from Ghana.


This brought up the issue of accessibility. Esthy proposed to Preeti to take up the role of a partner in her country to ease the accessibility of goods to clients in her region, an offer that was easily accepted.


Shipment of OTI organic shea and cocoa butters bound for India

This was welcomed news as Esthy was already looking to export some products from India. That was the start of a blossoming business relationship between these two women across different continents whose businesses share common values.


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