Women-led businesses are shaping Kashmiri entrepreneurship
Women's empowerment in India is no longer a farce; it is happening, and women come up with and execute successful ideas.
INDIA: Women's empowerment is no longer a farce; it is happening, and women come up with and execute successful ideas. They demonstrated their worth in every arena. They are now more interested in entrepreneurship and are success stories.
Saba Khan, Rising Kashmir's feature writer, spoke with some of Kashmir's entrepreneurs. Their stories will provide you with a lot of motivation and inspiration.
This story was part of International Women's Day on 8 May 2022. We bring you the stories of six women entrepreneurs making a difference.
Mehak Suhail is the Founder and Principal Architect of Mehak Suhail Architects.
She received her primary and secondary education at Presentation Convent in Srinagar and her bachelor's degree in architecture from Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune.
“I started practising Architecture in 2019 and am learning new lessons every day. I have had the privilege to work on residential houses, office spaces, clinics, salons, retail stores, gyms, etc as a Design Lead.”
Throughout her studies, she was told that women who study architecture end up teaching in architectural schools or working because practising is too demanding.
She has worked on over 70 projects in Kashmir since entering this field. "I made mistakes and had to learn my lessons hard." That has toughened and wised me."
Mehak feels a sense of accomplishment from her business. She has the freedom to shape a space into whatever shape she wants as a designer. "Every day, I strive to improve the user experience," she said.
Insha Muzaffar: Beauty Salon and Derma Aesthetic Skin Clinic
Insha hails from Srinagar, Baghat, and runs the RK studio and Derma Aesthetics clinic, where she offers advanced beauty treatments.
Despite what others said, she took a chance and opened the first Derma Aesthetic Clinic in J&K.
Derma Aesthetic Clinic is J&K's first, offering advanced beauty treatments such as BOTOX, PRP, Rhinoplasty, plastic surgery, fillers, and hair transplant.
When I asked Insha about her dream, she said she wanted to be a doctor but couldn't because of financial constraints.
“I have done bachelor in tourism and am pursuing my Masters from IGNOU.”
Mariya Reshi is another female entrepreneur from Srinagar's Soura neighbourhood who runs a business selling women's clothing, shawls, stoles, bags, hosiery, cosmetics, and other items.
She earned a bachelor's degree in technology (B.TECH) from Islamic University and a bachelor's degree in education (B.ED) from Kashmir University.
She began her business as a woman entrepreneur in 2020 and currently operates her store at HMT in Srinagar.
Mariya said, “I wish I had started early, but God has good plans. The thing I enjoyed most about starting my business is being socially active.”
Farida comes from a poor family in the village of Nanil in the district of Anantnag. In her village, she runs a beekeeping business.
When asked about her entrepreneurship decision, Farida stated that she wants to provide for her family and that desire drove her to run the business.
Farida stated that her husband, a private school teacher, is the family's sole source of income and cannot cover the family's daily expenses.
“I connected with the NRLM programme Scheme “UMEED” and got financial assistance of 30000 rupees to start my business in 2019.”
Nahida Akhtar, 21, from Mandi village in Poonch district, runs a Car Washing Centre in her village called Wajahat Makhdhoomi and Brothers.
According to Nahida, we also offer repair and spare parts in one location.
Nahida began working as an entrepreneur in 2017 with the assistance of NRLM.
When asked what inspired her to start a car washing and spare parts business, she stated that when she was a member of this group, the NRLM team advised her to do something.
Bag production, dairy products, and Dumper
Koushali is from the district of Udhampur. "I am a housewife, and I had no idea that women could do so many things; I only knew about housework." But in 2013, when some people arrived from Hyderabad and told her about the "NRLM" Mission scheme "Umeed," she joined the group.
Initially, she received 70000 rupees from the Umeed scheme and ran a dairy product business. When the profits started coming in at around 70000 rupees per month, it helped her a lot and gave her confidence.
She then used the loans to purchase a dumper. She now earns $50,000 per month. "I'd like to see more women come and take advantage of this scheme, Umeed."