An important project with the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) took place in Mauritania. Issued by the World Bank, the project was designed to help Mauritanian women entrepreneurs, by strengthening the connections between henna exporters and promising international markets within Europe and the Middle East.
Discovering henna’s global potential
In an effort to enhance the global significance of Mauritanian henna businesses, the We-Fi project conducted an extensive market study during the last two years. Guided by a committed team of professionals from the Cool team, the project unfolded in three distinct phases. The primary objective was to assess the international appeal of henna powder, with a strategic emphasis on bolstering Mauritania’s market presence in Europe and the Middle East. The study looked into crucial market insights, identifying ongoing trends and pinpointing opportunities, aiming to equip local henna enterprises with the necessary tools for global success.
1. Best market selection
Finding the most promising target markets was the first stage of the market study. We selected the highest potential priority target markets in Europe and the Middle East, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, using our in-house designed market selection technique. These countries were chosen based on factors like demand and growth potential, making them the focus for expanding henna powder exports. Following the identification of these target areas, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the top three target markets per continent. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research was conducted.
2. In-depth market analysis
Exploring the target markets thoroughly, we combined numbers with good practices from the real world. We looked into trade patterns, market trends, and legal requirements, and analysed the competition carefully. To grasp the industry’s rhythm, our team participated in important trade fairs like In-Cosmetics Global (Barcelona) and Vivaness (Nürnberg), gaining valuable firsthand insights.
By focusing on key aspects such as buyer specifications, niche market demands, marketing strategies, competitor dynamics, pricing trends, and effective promotional practices, we provided Mauritanian henna exporters with a clearer understanding of the European and Middle Eastern markets. In turn, this knowledge also guides them in creating effective strategies for successful market entry.
3. Buyer profiles and interactive workshops
Longlists of potential buyers were carefully selected for each target market. After that, detailed buyer profiles were constructed, as a result of extensive interviews and research conducted with potential buyers. These interviews are designed to collect in-depth information about the companies, understanding their unique needs and requirements. In addition to the interviews, desk research was performed to gather supplementary information about the potential buyers and their product offerings. Each interviewed organisation had a dedicated buyer profile report, offering a comprehensive overview of their business and preferences. The peak of the project featured an interactive workshop in Nouakchott, Mauritania, where the results were presented to stakeholders and export strategies were collaboratively formed.
Results: Paving the path to success
The We-Fi project supported Mauritanian henna businesses in increasing their chances of success in entering the international market. A thorough market analysis delving into the top three potential markets, in both the EU and the Middle East, provided a solid foundation for strategic decisions. The project’s efforts led to the identification of around 15 potential buyers for each target market, along the detailed buyer profiles. The interactive workshop with stakeholders of the Mauritanian henna sector held in Nouakchott fostered collaboration and contributed to the joint development of export strategies.
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