Fifteen Afghan Fast Runners arrived on Saturday for the Bpeace Apprentice Road Trip. The BARTies, as we affectionately call them, will be taking business classes at the Dubai Women’s College, going on site visits to companies related to their own businesses and developing work (and personal) relationships with members of Bpeace.
There are 15 remarkable Afghan women here with us: a beekeeper who is the “queen” of her 80 female beekeepers; three soccer ball manufacturers who put the mom back into soccer; a commercial printer who we hope to encourage to go digital; a furniture maker who is literally participating in the rebuilding of Kabul; and more and more–from a producer of designer mint water to an importer of heating oil.
Dollars and cents
Today was Finance Day! The BARTies showed their mettle as true businesswomen in the way they reacted and applied Professor Rao’s practical way of teaching finance. As he took the class through daily cash records for manufacturing businesses, the Associates dove into the worksheets like thirsty marathoners. They were so engaged they had to be prodded to take a lunch break. The bonus showed up when the rest of the Finance faculty at Dubai Women’s College arrived in the afternoon and set themselves up as four different consulting firms. The faculty had thoroughly prepped by analyzing the BARTie’s business plans and offered credible advice specifically tailored to each Associate.
In the soccer consulting room, Dwight Anthony (sporting a soccer ball tie), helped Ferishta, Taj and Azziza, our three ball-manufacturing Associates, analyze their production costs to better compete with Pakistani imports.
Zainul was pleased to report that her sales would increase by 200% this year because of increased honey production. Her consultant pointed out that she hadn’t factored in that a good honey season for her would mean that her competitors would be having one as well.
Mobina, our radio broadcaster, was intrigued by the advice to carefully offer a free month of advertising to a new sponsor in order to gather data to track sales increases, and then to use that data to attract other paying sponsors. Hamida, who runs a business consultancy, translated that idea in trial consulting relationships to woo new clients.
The Fast Runners are hoping to secure some additional time with their finance consultants later this week.
The dollar and cents day ended with a trip into the desert complete with dune bashing, belly dancing, and a few Henna’ed hands and feet.
–Toni Maloney, on behalf of the Bpeace team, November 2007