“Well, if you wanted to buy a red dress, how would you find out about that?” my local advisor, Sully, asked. “In our culture, you would never ask someone where to buy a red dress.” We were discussing how to find suppliers for a textile unique to our region. I had been disappointed more than once in supplier-buyer relationships, and I was ready to listen. Sully had been introduced to me by my MDE mentor who had previously served in South Asia.
Our introduction to MDE came at a time when we really needed support. I was reaching out to the children in our community and my husband was starting a manufacturing business. Our mission organization allowed us to be seconded to MDE, and MDE helped us walk through the legal hoops of starting both a nonprofit organization and a business overseas. They encouraged us each step of the way and never made us feel like what we were doing was a “bad idea.”
Moving to Central Asia late last fall to start up a motorcycle touring business has definitely been an adventure. It started by engaging an international law firm, recommended and vetted by MDE, before we actually landed in country. Our lead lawyer’s training in the US made it easy to build a relationship with her quite quickly. The law firm walked us through the process of getting temporary residence permits (TRP) and building out our business entity in country. After all the many necessary steps, we were granted a 3-month TRP and formed a limited liability company in country without a hitch.