Business training, along with crucial assistance in applying for loans, enables women entrepreneurs to succeed
10 JUNE 2013 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
It might have seemed an enormous leap of faith for Nazifa Ufyani to resign her bank job and start a pickle factory in her kitchen with just $50 as seed capital.
But she had the confidence that came from a business entrepreneurs’ course, which provided crucial assistance with a loan application.
USAID’s Women’s Access to Business Opportunities and Finance trained Nazifa and 71 other female entrepreneurs from the Parwan, Panjshir and Kapisa provinces north of the Afghan capital Kabul. The women learnt business planning and management and were helped to apply for financing.
Within weeks, many of the women had received their loans. Bibi Gul, who runs a dress shop, said $3,000 would go a long way towards buying sewing machines and adding to inventory. Mariam Walizada said she would expand her dairy products business.
Meanwhile, Nazifa said she would use the $6,000-loan to improve packaging and expanding production. Her turshi bab or assorted pickles had acquired a devoted following and Nazifa had been able to hire seven helpers, five of them women. She had even managed to move the little factory out of her kitchen.
But she needed to do more. “I thought, just imagine what I can do if I had the capital to upgrade and expand,” she recalled.
Now that she does, Nazifa says she wants to sell further afield than Charikar, capital of her native Parwan province and Kabul. “I want to sell directly in Tajikistan instead of dealing with a middleman. For that, I have to produce more and my pickle bottles have to look nice.”
Last updated: January 16, 2015