Story: Women as changemakers: leading a training company in Tajikistan

5 March 2021
ITC News

Farzona Tilavova, a self-made woman, trains coaches in export management skills in neighboring countries. These coaches will in turn pass on their newly acquired knowledge to local entrepreneurs, thus creating a domino effect in the capacity-building activities.

Understanding the playing field

" I realized that to apprehend what business owners feel and to truly understand their environment, I needed to start my own business. The space for consulting services was empty at the time in Tajikistan, so I believed that I could bring on some positive changes and that my services would be beneficial to local entrepreneurs. This is how Kamolot 1 was born: from my desire to assist enterprises and organizations in using modern management methods, in a way which would fit their strategic goals and specific characteristics. Local businesses (…) need to understand that all the issues they might run into, (…) are solvable. Kamolot1 not only helps them gain the trust they need but also provides them with the necessary services to overcome their problems".

Nevertheless, the road to success was not easy, despite an untapped market and weak competition. Farzona had to navigate complex bureaucratic obstacles and had to face a low-level of demand, as explained by the lack of client experience with consulting services. But thanks to its pool of highly qualified experts and keen understanding of the region specifics, Kamolot 1 quickly gained a reputation for excellence and won many clients in Tajikistan.

Women as changemakers

"Improving access to business services is crucial for supporting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises", says Saidmumin Kamolov, Ready4Trade Project Manager in Tajikistan. "We highly appreciate the fact that Farzona supports Ready4Trade in reaching its overarching objective, i.e. building strong, reliable and empowered businesses in the country with a recognizable and trustable brand: Made in Tajikistan".

Farzona is not only a living example of how a woman in a culturally patriarchal society can grow into a change-maker; she also supports and mentors other young women to help them find their professional niche. She believes that educated women who run their own business should create opportunities for other women.

Her advice for this International Women's Day?

"Nothing in life comes easy. Success requires daily hard work; it challenges your ambition and your abilities, and it pushes you to the limit.  One of the keys is to always seek more knowledge. So, I call on young girls to never stop dreaming to be the best in any area they like, and to let knowledge be their first passion".

With the project ‘Ready4Trade Central Asia’, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs). The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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