Putri joined our Mentoring Women in Business programme as a mentee in 2016, matched with mentor Philippe. Having finished the programme, they reflect on their journey together.
Malaysia and Lebanon
My mentor is my pillar and voice of encouragement.
Putri is a mentee from our Mentoring Women in Business Programme. The programme uses technology to offer cross-border support, connecting women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies with men and women mentors from around the world. This is her story.
Putri is the owner of This and That Enterprise, a homebased tailoring company which makes custom clothes for curvy women. Putri was inspired to establish the business because she struggled to find plus-sized clothes to suit her taste. After getting divorced and struggling to find a job to support her children, she took a sewing course at the Foundation’s local partner in Malaysia, the Foundation for Women’s Educational and Vocational Training (YPVWM), and made orders for friends and family.
Seeing her potential, a local NGO equipped Putri with an industrial sewing machine, which enabled her to start her own label, Hatasia Curvy. Putri wanted a mentor to support her to learn more about making clothes on a larger scale. She also needed support with marketing her label and managing her finances. She joined our Mentoring Programme was matched with Philippe, an Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon. Thanks to support from Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Putri also received a tablet and data plan to enable her to connect with Philippe online and access the programme’s online resources.
Putri and Philippe explored ways Putri could sell her designs through Facebook and Instagram and increase her visibility online. The pair looked at Putri’s financial planning and accounting, and worked to ensure that she was recording her profits and losses accurately. Putri describes Philippe as her “pillar and voice of encouragement”. The mentoring relationship helped improve Putri’s communication skills and confidence, and enabled her to build stronger relationships with potential clients. Putri used the tablet to access information relevant to her line of business, watch training videos and promote her designs online. During her time in the programme, her business went from having fewer than five clients to having over 30, many of whom are regular customers. As a result, Putri was able to build a regular income, and her revenue increased by 86%.
Putri faced some health concerns at the end of her year in the programme, which impacted her business and confidence. She found great encouragement in Philippe and the programme’s online community, which helped her to rebound from these setbacks. Putri continues to try to grow her business and put the techniques she learned with Philippe into practice.
Philippe learned about the culture and business environment in Malaysia. The mentoring experience also developed his communication and listening skills. He says, “Putri deserves every success. She is determined and passionate against all odds.”
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.
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