Fatema Akbari is the owner of Gulistan Sadaqat Company, a furniture manufacturing business in Kabul. Founded in 2003, the business employs close to 100 Afghans, mostly women she has trained as carpenters.
She prioritizes hiring women whose husbands have either been killed or disabled in the war, because she is passionate about helping women gain employment and secure their lives.
Fatema, whose family fled to Iran when the Taliban came to power, learned carpentry at a young age and envisioned returning to Afghanistan to start her own carpentry business.
She knew that starting a business was a risky venture, but she also knew that success would offer a means of employment to women in her province, and would prove that women could contribute equally to the economic stability of Afghanistan as a whole.
In 2009 she enrolled in the Goldman Sachs-sponsored 10,000 Women program at the American University of Afghanistan, a program aimed at training women from developing countries in business and management.
In 2011 she received the 10,000 Women Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. Fatema has trained 5,610 men and women across Afghanistan.
Her leadership — as a businesswoman, an educator and the elected representative of her district’s business council — has earned her respect from many in her community, and she is dedicated to empowering the next generation of young women leaders. One of these young women is her daughter, Shahla.
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An entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business and usually risks his own money to start the venture. An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services and business/or procedures. Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy. These are the people who have the skills and initiative necessary to anticipate current and future needs and bring good new ideas to market. Those who fail suffer losses and become less prevalent in the markets. Entrepreneurship is one of the resources economists categorize as integral to production, the other three being land/natural resources, labor and capital. An entrepreneur combines the first three of these to manufacture goods or provide services. He or she typically creates a business plan, hires labor, acquires resources and financing, and provides leadership and management for the business. Entrepreneurs commonly face many obstacles when building their companies. Economists have never had a consistent definition of "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurship" (the word "entrepreneur" comes from the French verb entreprendre, meaning "to undertake"). Though the concept of an entrepreneur existed and was known for centuries, the classical and neoclassical economists left entrepreneurs out of their formal models: They assumed that perfect information would be known to fully rational actors, leaving no room for risk-taking or discovery. It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that economists seriously attempted to incorporate entrepreneurship into their models.
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