The new generation of young women entrepreneurs in Kashmir are overcoming the myriad of challenges including, political, social, economic, gender related, lack of awareness, to seize upon the business opportunities.
Most of these entrepreneurs are tech-savvy and know how to target prospective customers which is helping them grow their businesses faster than ever before.
Here are a few of them.
Sana Imtiyaz Hussaini, 22, is a baker hailing from uptown Srinagar. She is the first woman from Srinagar to make it to The Homebakers’ 2020 list of the top 100 home bakers of the country.
Two sisters, Iqra Mukhtar (27) and Bushra Mukhtar (23) have set up the clothing line ‘Kashmiri Pehnava’ in 2018 to preserve traditional Kashmiri attire by giving it a modern twist.
Dr Gazalla Amin is the owner of Fasiam Agro Farms, producing herbal and medicinal products. She was also first woman member of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Rifat Mushtaq is one of the oldest women entrepreneurs in Kashmir. Rifat ventured into the business world by establishing a matchbox manufacturing unit. She runs a cardboard box manufacturing unit and a printing press in the industrial area of Zakura.
Maheen Rashid Pandith owns and runs Ammity International School at Lawaypora.
Nusrat Jahan owns the state franchise of Petals and Ferns. Runs two floriculture farms where she grows flowers for both domestic consumption and export.
Mymoona Nazir owns and runs ‘Get in Shape’ gymnasium at Buchpora, Srinagarp.
Rifat Masoodi, a mother of two, popularly known as “batwoman” is the only woman bat maker in Kashmir. Her story is that of motivation and dedication backed by the support of her family. Today, she supplies bats to Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Nusrat Jahan is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the valley with her chain of flower stores, ‘Ferns n Petals”. Jahan quit a promising job decades ago to start her own business in 2000 and today she is a role model for others providing employment opportunities to people. Initially, she had to import flowers from outside, but eventually she started cultivating flowers in the backyard of her home.
Mymoona Nazir has opened an exclusive gym for ladies. She has been receiving a good response and plans to expand the space by introducing new equipment and trainers.
Mehwish Zargar is a lawyer turned businesswoman. She is the owner of a cafe in Srinagar. The cafe has become famous for the ambience and food it serves. She has inspired young women of Kashmir to be job creators rather than job seekers.
Zarka Tanzeel, hailing from central Kashmir's Budgam district, set up a detergent factory and provides livelihood to seven persons including six boys and a girl.
Saima Nisar Sheikh, 28, of Srinagar’s Pantha Chowk has taken a vow to fight the menace of milk adulteration.
Initially, Sheikh bought two cows for follow her passion of starting a dairy farm. Later, she approached Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) to receive training and applied for a loan.
After being sanctioned a Rs 22 lakh loan and investing her own savings of around three lakh into the business, she constructed a cowshed and bought some cows with the sanctioned loan.
The dairy farm being run by Sheikh is spread over an area of two kanals of land at Khonmoh Srinagar. At present Saima is rearing nine cows and six calves on her farm. Out of them, eight cows are in milking condition.
Saima’s farm produces about 70 litres of milk per day. She sells the cow dung as manure.