New York, New York, here they are–12 extraordinary entrepreneurs from Afghanistan in town for a three-week training program.
The Philadelphia Inquirer called it a “mixed American holiday with business boot-camp. The women attended classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, got a bird’s-eye view of Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building, and scoped out such American consumer temples as Target and ABC Carpet.”
Meet one Fast Runner:
Baktnizar operates a dress shop in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her mentor Annette owns a dress shop in Nyack, New York.
From Business Week: “During the Taliban years, Baktnizar, 28, supported her husband and four children in rural Lagman province by embroidering, working until midnight on most days. After the Taliban was overthrown, the family moved to Kabul where she earned her teaching degree and taught Pashto part-time, making $50 a month. “It was not enough,” she says. “I thought if I had my own business we’d be able to do better. I was always interested in clothing and design, and it was something I knew how to do.” The enterprising seamstress joined the Afghan Women Business Association. and met up with Bpeace members who arrived in the country in 2004. They helped her apply for a CARE International grant to support her business idea. Today, Baktnizar operates a ready-to-wear shop, Khaber Khush, which means “good news,” in Kabul, overseeing 36 employees and earning three times as much as she did as a teacher. With her affiliation with Bpeace and her in the Style Road Trip, Baktnizar hopes to learn about Western markets and tastes to be able to export, improve quality control, and to find better raw materials to work with. Eventually, she wants to open a chain of stores with locations in every province in Afghanistan. “If you’re going to have goals and dreams,” she says. “They might as well be big.”
Piqued your interest? Read the entire Style Road Trip blog here.