Uzbek Knitwear on Italian Runways

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Monday, April 5, 2021
Zaytuna Nasirova on the left and Nargiza Djalolova on the right
USAID's Future Growth Initiative

The number of female entrepreneurs in Central Asia is growing fast. More and more women across the region are recognizing their potential to succeed in the world of business.

Zaytuna Nasirova, Chief Executive Officer at Naril Textile Invest, LLC in Chirchiq, Uzbekistan, entered the private sector just two short years ago. She began with the launch of her own translation services company, which grew quickly under her leadership.

“One day I received a call from my friend Nargiza Djalilova, the founder of Naril Textile Invest, LLC, seeking advice on how to increase the factory’s productivity and product quality,” Zaytuna recalls. The company, established in 2017, produces a range of textile products for local and international markets. “I had two goals–to help my friend, and to try something new and challenging for myself.” Thus, she joined Naril Textile Invest, LLC as the Business Development Director in early 2020.

First, Zaytuna hired an IT specialist to create and launch a website for the company–a critical move due to the pandemic. “A lockdown was imposed because of COVID, we were not allowed to go outside and arrange offline meetings with potential partners and stakeholders. The website became a kind of a bridge, enabling us to establish business partnerships and hear opinions from clients about the quality of our products. It brought new life to the whole production process,” she says. Four months later, Zaytuna was named CEO of the company.

Naril Textile Invest has been exporting its products to Poland, Russia, and Belarus since 2018. Export-quality products must meet high standards, as buyers look closely at both quality of the fabric and the quality of the sewing. While the company’s sewing met high quality standards, the quality of the fabric itself was often found wanting. The company purchased fabric from external suppliers, but systematic problems with fabric delivery often resulted in delays and thwarted deadlines. To address these issues, the company’s leadership decided to launch an in-house fabric dyeing workshop, lowering costs, and significantly increasing control over product quality. They needed a consultant to design the project, identify the right equipment, and develop and coordinate production systems for the new workshop.

To advance the project, Naril Textile Invest applied for support from USAID’s Future Growth Initiative in spring of 2020, and emerged from the competitive selection process as a successful finalist. “We were so excited, I can’t begin to describe it in words,” says Zaytuna.

With USAID’s technical assistance, work progressed rapidly. The company hired a consultant from Turkey to manage quality control. The management team also responded to a government program for small industrial areas and were given a plot of land to build the new workshop. While the pandemic has disrupted the initial construction timeline, the company is working hard to finish building on schedule. Zaytuna notes that the project has been a huge undertaking for her and Nargiza. “We continue to face challenges while getting all the necessary approvals from various agencies, but we are committed to our goal. It is hard, sometimes very hard, but it is doable!”

Another dream Zaytuna and Nargiza share–to enter U.S. and European markets to sell knitwear, denim, and embroidered products–is also coming true. Despite travel constraints brought on by the pandemic, the team managed to fly to Italy and Turkey to negotiate with potential buyers. “A huge success for us was the shipment of the first truck of textile product exports to Italy in December 2020,” says Zaytuna. “At the beginning of February 2021, we shipped the second batch of products, and we have confirmed orders for the next couple of months valued at over €800,000.”

She also says that the company will not stop at these milestones. Confident with their new business partner in Italy, Zaytuna and the rest of her team will continue to work diligently on their development strategy. “At Naril Textile Invest, we would like to produce high value-added products and services, ensuring long-term relationships with our international partners and clients. We hope that Italian fashionistas will like and wear goods produced by Naril Textile.”

With USAID’s technical support, the new factory is expected to create 700 new jobs–75 percent of which will be occupied by women. This growth will not only allow Naril Textile Invest to expand to new markets, but also create favorable conditions for women and youth employment in Uzbekistan–supporting a new generation of potential entrepreneurs.

Naril Textile is one of four textile companies the USAID Future Growth Initiative partners with in Uzbekistan through its Market Development Fund. The company is founded and run by women, and more than 75 percent of its employees are women and young people. Naril Textile successfully developed its exports to Europe and the United States and continues to increase its sales. In addition to Naril Textile, USAID has partnered with three more companies: Khantex LLC, Afrasiab Jeans LLC, Mirzachul Tex LLC, to demonstrate a proof of concept: they have domestic supply or distribution chains, and upgrades can generate widespread opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow.

Last updated: September 24, 2021

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