Agnes Mhlongo (Ghana 2010 Alumna) and Carey Moran (Uganda 2010 Alumna) shared a booth at the Design Indaba Trade Show in Cape Town as part of four business sponsored by Trade and Investment KwaZulu Natal. Both women encouraged and inspired each other before the show and exhibited their own products. The two met in June 2010, after hearing about each other as local businesswomen. Carey had become interested in the idea of mentorship since her attendance at the Uganda 2010 Vital Voices training. Feeling Agnes was hungry to learn about business development, and having the experience to guide her, the two women entered into a mentorship relationship. Carey introduced Agnes to new business contacts and helped her attend the Vital Voices Ghana 2010 training. Carey and Agnes began collaborating on projects toward the end of 2010, completing a very large order for the municipality and submitting a tender bid with the provincial tourism body to operate a curio shop at the Durban travel show for the next five years.
Both women feel blessed to have found such great business partners. They highlight the advantage of combining different skills and talents, emphasizing that working together as two women in the same sector they are each more powerful. Carey and Agnes are working on new strategies and projects for the year ahead. “I think after time the mentor/mentee distinction blurs and what remains is a strong and loyal relationship committed to seeing success and progress in the work we do and making a difference in our community,” says Carey.