Rose, The beginning...

In 2006, Kathleen Holland, then a consultant working in/at XX, was in South Africa attending a women’s entrepreneur conference. She was there to XX (::scout the craft and textile and natural cosmetics sectors with the idea of becoming an importer back in her home country of Canada::). It was during her time at the conference that Kathleen met an extraordinary woman, Rose.

Rose was a scientist with an MBA, educated in the United States, and working with a cosmetics company. She had been recruited by Procter & Gamble, but instead decided to return to Tanzania, her home country, where she discovered and patented a miracle skin oil from the Moringa tree leaves.

Despite her accomplishments, Rose struggled for many years with little to no outside investment, building a young, strong team of rural farmers to harvest and produce the skin oil. She lived lean and poured what she had into her business and into the lives and livelihoods of her team, even making it possible for them to become shareholders of her company. Rose stood firm on the idea that what she was producing was not just a terrific product, but that the product produced something larger than herself. And Rose was attending the conference that year to garner support to expand.

Despite her incredible product, secure patents, and positive community impact, the global partnerships she sought didn’t surface immediately or easily. Further, she lacked marketing, sales, and government support to assist her pursuit to expand.

Eventually though, interested partners and investors in the United States came forward. Tragically, however, it was too little, too late; Rose’s health had failed and there was no succession plan for the business.

The patents now sit dormant; the miracle skin oil forgotten. And worse, the positive impact Rose had on the community has come to an end.

Except Rose’s story hasn’t been forgotten. Kathleen remembers. And so do the members of the Trade+Impact Association, a collaborative global community of members from the craft and natural cosmetics sectors whose focus is on women-led social enterprises in Africa and the Middle East.

Inspired by Rose and her philosophy of ‘a social cause on a business platform’, as well as other extraordinary women-led social enterprises - like Jenny Thorne from Gone Rural and Sheila Freemantle from Tintsaba, the Trade+Impact Association was founded to support women like Rose. If you’re curious about how T+I can help you, or how you can help T+I, visit tradeplusimpact.org for more information.