Nina’s story

Nina joined our Mentoring Women in Business programme as a mentee in 2016, matched with mentor Tracy. Having finished the programme, they reflect on their journey together.




India and the UK

Tracy has always been very encouraging and supportive. She asks all the right questions which get me thinking.

Nina Patil, Director, Fresh Express Logistics, and mentee

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 and joined the programme to gain support in these areas. In 2016, she joined our Mentoring Women in Business programme. She was matched with Tracy, a research analyst and knowledge manager based in the UK.

Relationship focus

Nina worked with Tracy 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 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. She also used the programme’s online forums to connect and learn from another mentor who works for a large international fruit distributer.

Nina Patil, Director, Fresh Express Logistics, and mentee smiles at her grape farm.

Nina’s reflections

Nina reported that Tracy helped her think more objectively about her business. She also gained confidence to make tough decisions in her business, 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. Nina regularly watches the programme’s online webinars on business planning, branding, finance and digital marketing.

Nina Patil, Director, Fresh Express Logistics, and mentee examines a plant at her grape farm.

Tracy’s reflections

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.”

Find out more about our global Mentoring programme

Mentoring Women in Business is one of the Foundation's three flagship programmes. We pair businesspeople everywhere as mentors with women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries as mentees for an incredibly rich, personalised, cross-border, online experience. This is transformative for mentees and mentors alike—and their companies.

Find out more!
Emily Quinn works with her mentee in a video call.