In the realm of entrepreneurial success stories, Shah Bibi Alizadeh’s journey stands as a testament to unwavering determination and a profound commitment to positive change. Her venture will not only introduced the world to Afghanistan’s taste but also ensured easy access to natural and healthy ingredients. It’s a truly commendable endeavor, one that has the potential to revolutionize dietary habits in our modern society.
Shah Bibi Alizadeh’s story begins with the bittersweet taste of migration, a journey that has been a constant companion from the early days of her life. This very taste compelled her to return to her homeland and ignite positive change for those who had remained behind. While she initially pursued a career as a teacher in Herat, she was faced with meager income and challenging circumstances. However, she embraced this as an opportunity for a fundamental career shift.
After six months of meticulous research and market assessment alongside a close friend, Shah Bibi Alizadeh embarked on a transformative business journey with a modest capital of 10,000 Afghanis (almost equal to $150)—a sum that appeared almost implausible for anyone aiming to become a successful trader and producer.
In Herat, where she is originally from, she began her enterprise by packaging and selling dried fruits. Her commitment to ethical principles and legal compliance was unwavering. In 2019, she initiated her small business venture with two female employees, focusing on meticulous planning, comprehensive assessment, data-driven analysis, policy formulation, branding, and securing legal trade permits.
Even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as economic and political upheavals, Shah Bibi Alizadeh’s production thrived. Through the consistent delivery of high-quality products, she adeptly navigated these adversities. Her product range including various types of raisins, dried figs, sesame seeds, pistachios, and a variety of nuts. Her creativity extended to the production of pasta and sesame oil, further propelling her toward profitability and progress. While raw materials such as dried apricots and oatmeal are imported from Iran, raisins and dried figs are locally sourced from Qandahar and Herat, respectively.
Shah Bibi Alizadeh’s primary objective in embarking on this entrepreneurial venture was to create employment opportunities and actively engage women in the workforce. She firmly believes that her products can significantly contribute to economic growth and bolster domestic production, despite the challenges presented by a predominantly male-dominated society.
Her business operations extend beyond Herat, indirectly reaching other provinces through traders, including Nimruz, Farah, and Kabul. Her workforce includes female marketers, process teams, packaging experts, and management and logistics professionals. Remarkably, she has provided employment opportunities for 14 women and 2 men.
Notably, Shah Bibi Alizadeh’s entrepreneurial journey was not buoyed by significant support from governmental or non-governmental organizations. Instead, it was buoyed by the recognition and backing of her community, family, and quality controllers, all of whom found her products to be invaluable.
“I may currently rely on seasonal and sporadic income from my products, but I firmly believe that, in the grand scheme of things, my products will find their place in global markets. I understand that venturing into the global market entails significant transformations in my business operations, along with the demands of time and increased financial resources. Nonetheless, in the foreseeable future, I aspire to comprehend the influence of international borders on our national economy and contribute further.”
Shah Bibi Alizadeh
Shah Bibi Alizadeh drew inspiration from two female entrepreneurs when she embarked on her business venture. As her enterprise grew, five more women joined this field. The core pillars of her success have been a steadfast commitment to quality, adherence to legal standards, effective branding, a profound respect for time, and unwavering honesty. These principles have helped her maintain a loyal customer base and thrive in a competitive market.
While Shah Bibi Alizadeh currently derives most of her income from seasonal and occasional sales, she envisions a future where her products reach global markets. She acknowledges that entering the global market will necessitate substantial changes in her trade practices and demand increased financial resources. Nevertheless, she aspires to become an economic influencer and create more employment opportunities in the long run.
All of her company’s products are meticulously packaged using cold pressing methods to preserve their nutritional value. The products are manufactured using modern and professional machinery. A recent investment of $14,000 in a new machine has brought about a positive transformation in her product supply chain.
Within Herat’s women’s market, Shah Bibi Alizadeh serves as the central and direct representative for her sales, catering to approximately 240 customers. Her clientele includes supermarkets, wholesalers, wedding halls, kitchens, and street vendors. With aspirations to establish a large-scale production company in Herat’s industrial city, she aims to reach even more p
“I firmly believe that my products have the potential to bring about a transformative shift in people’s diets, precisely what our contemporary society requires.”
Shah Bibi Alizadeh