THE BUSINESS


Inside Success Stories

Nahid Hamidi

Ms. Hamidi obtained the V. Chair position in Afghanistan Woman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) by open election of entrepreneurs (2018-2022). She also started her business with $ 2000 which was given by her mother in 2008 for her pocket money and education expenses.

Now her company’s net worth is $10,00,000. She opened a jewellery showroom in Kuwait named Alhakim Jawahirat, which is one of the suppliers of the Afghan Gems in Jaipur India.

Long story short, it all began when she was a BA Economics second year student in India in 2008. As part of her academic assignments she was once asked to present an overview of Afghanistan’s mines and natural resources. After researching for days, she explored a lot of interesting information in reference to the various types of precious stones Afghanistan is rich with. The beautiful gems that she found about made a special place in her heart. On the other hand, it also struck her how unprofessionally these gems and mines are being extracted, misused and lastly smuggled outside Afghanistan that negatively affects the national economy and provides benefit to only a few involved in the business.

She learnt one profound thing about Entrepreneurship: every business needs to get started on an assumption that it will succeed and no business is without risks. She decided to enter into this arena. She started looking for more information and contacted friends for this purpose. Finally, she found some precious gems in Kabul’s gems market and brought them to Jaipur, India (the biggest market in India), to attract potential and serious buyers. It is worth mentioning that her first investment was the US$ 2,000 which she had for her personal expenditure and studies while in India.

She was very disappointed when her first deal was for half of the price she had paid for the gems. She did not allow her disappointment to discourage her. She knew it cannot end this way, so she had to work and try harder. All she did at that time was to not disclose the loss she bore in her first deal.

Soon after that, she graduated from college and returned to Afghanistan. During this time, (when the Taliban had occupied Kabul), she lost her mother. She was broken and had lost her way. But she had to stay strong and come up hard again. She was lucky enough to obtain a scholarship for her master’s degree (MBA) in Pune University in India. This provided her with another opportunity to pursue her dreams and start her business. She started a small monopolistic market for Afghan gems in Jaipur and got the initial training in gems grading and processing from KK Gems and Art in Jaipur for 10 months. She took her business and gems dealings to the top levels and soon got known by the gems traders in the Jaipur market. Eventually, she started supplying a little while she was doing really well and dealing with buyers on regular basis.

After the completion of her MBA in International Business, she returned to Afghanistan and continued with her business. While operating in the Afghan market, she studied the market, analysed potential areas of operation and found out the problems in Gems Industry. She studied about how the markets are structured and how this type of business was operated in a disorganized manner. She felt the lack of professional labour for processing the gems. The dealers in Kabul used to travel to neighbouring countries to get their gems processed or at worse they would sell it in raw/rough form for a very less price.

To counter this problem and offer an immediate solution she brought different types of machines for gems cutting and polishing from India. Another good initiative she took while tackling this problem (which she is proud of) was to bring and recruit Afghan refugees living in Peshawar, Pakistan with a decade of experience in carving and handling gems. She found and further trained a group of such experienced men and established a professional team. This led her to be able to form the first centre for gems processing in Afghanistan which was a revolution in the gems industry.

Today, she not only deals with gems carving, cutting and polishing services in Kabul but she also officially started her company in Jaipur and continues supplying Afghan gems in the Jaipur market.

Mohsina Saqeb

Mrs. Mohsina has always tried her best to be a self-reliant person and has overcome the challenges women generally face in Afghanistan and this was possible with the support of her parents and her husband. Today she is happy to have a family business of her own and take part in the development of her country.

Mrs. Mohsina was born in Mazar-e-Sharif city in the north of Afghanistan in a rather larger size family of four sisters and two brothers. Her father is a businessman and her mother is a homemaker.

She went to school and university in Mazar-e-Sharif. After graduation, she taught mathematics to grade 10 and grade 11 students in one of the largest girls’ high school until she got married. After marriage she moved to Peshawar, Pakistan with her husband. She used the opportunity to continue her higher education and attended the Master of Business Administration degree courses in one of the private universities there besides taking English language, computer, and a teacher training short term courses.

She got occupied with bringing up her children, and thus did not try any full time employment. However after repatriation to Kabul, Afghanistan, she again started teaching and worked as intern and assistant in finance sections of two international NGOs. She also started volunteer work by becoming a member of one of the International NGOs (Swedish Committee for Afghanistan) as the deputy head of its local chapter in Kabul. She was elected as representative of the local chapter to attend the annual meeting of the organization in 2015 and got the chance to have a European tour.

Her firm was established in 1980 in Kolhapur, the southern region of Maharashtra state. The firm has legacy passed on from a well known CA Mr. P. D. Kunte from Mumbai, who was on board of many prominent Corporates.

She always wanted to have an ideal full-time job but she didn’t get what she was looking for. This made her think of opening her own business. After consultation with her husband and daughter they started their family business. In less than three months they were able to open they family company (Jama-e-Saqeb Handicraft Production Company “Jama”) as of 1st January 2017. With no prior experience, the business progressed well, from two swing machine and two tailors to now more than 15 swing machines and 33 staff (65% female) members both in production and support departments as well as more than 200 home based women in Kabul and other provinces who regularly produce handmade materials for the company.

Jama design is the first branch/section that consists of a larger swing/tailoring workshop and a show room. They have recently opened their furnishing branch/section by the name of ‘Jama Carpets’ with a number of unique and quality hand woven carpets, rugs, pillow and mattresses, covers, table cloths, vehicle seats cover, etc. The third branch/section by the name of Jama Furniture with unique handmade wooden work has also been opened which is on a small scale for now.

Jama has a long term strategy and will expand step by step if the business goes well and the security situation of the country allows them to continue developing further. The aim of the business is not only financial gain but to also offer the best quality products to the customer and to contribute to the economic growth of the rural women by purchasing their handcraft materials and use them in their own products.

Mrs. Mohsina has always wanted to use her potential in the best way and she found that she is quite good at the handcraft production, especially dress designing so she started her business. She wanted to serve her people, especially women by providing them employment opportunity and to design their favorite variety of cloths for them so that they do not run after foreign made cloths.

Within a period of three and half years her business is a huge success and the following achievements are a proof of that:

  • Rapid expansion of the business and arose as one of the top dress designing entity/brand in the country and thus not only got the very high class clients within the country but also globally.
  • Being invited to a number of regional and national conferences including RECCA (Turkmenistan), exhibitions, and fashion show in Dubai and Colombo where Jama arose very well.
  • Being invited to a number of TV programs those which have the biggest number of spectators for instance Tolo, Ariana, Arezo, Zan (women) TV channels.
  • Being granted with a number of Awards and Appreciation Letters e.g. Letter of Sincere Appreciation from BusinessDNA 2019, The Superior Exporter of the Year 2019 Award and Appreciation Letter from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, Creative Women of the Year (2018) Award from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, , Made By Afghan Women Certificate from AWCCI 2019, Membership of the Northwood University (USA) Global Network and Certificate In Recognition Entrepreneurial Spirit and Commitment to Community 2018. 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year Award by Enterprising Women (THE MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS), Bibi Khatija Honorary Award from AWCCI and PTBN 2017. Appreciation Award from the most professional private university in the country, Kardan University, for designing and producing graduation dress for their 700 graduates and its chancellor and professors 2017.
  • Got the chance for a professional business training (Peace through Business) both in Kabul and the USA.

She is immensely proud to be an Afghan businesswoman and is also proud of the fact that she is able to contribute towards improving Afghanistan’s economy situation.