Filed under: Development Gender equality Poverty Social inclusion

Women entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan

Access to micro finance helps provide people with an opportunity to improve their living conditions, especially important for women living in poverty. Meet Manzura and Dilrabo, two women entrepreneurs.

Manzura Y., Entrepreneur
Bogsogon village, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Manzura Y., a young entrepreneur, lives in Bogsogon village in Samarkand. In 2009, after graduating from college, she decided to open her own small business and help her family. She wanted to do something creative and something different. Going to another country wasn’t a possibility for her because she didn’t want to leave her aging parents.

She completed tailor’s courses and applied for a microloan. Using the microloan she bought a sewing-machine and started producing dresses for women and selling them at a local market.  With the second and third microloans received a year later she had widened the variety of her products.

To help her with this she encouraged eight more young women to join her.

“Thanks to the microloans, I was able to almost double the earnings from my business from 2009 to 2011,” said Ms. Manzura. “I opened a small shop and am helping my parents to repair our house. I trained eight more young women from my village and now they’re also employed.”

To support her entrepreneurial skills, the microcredit organization also organized business trainings and legal consultations.

Dilrabo R, Entrepreneur

Expanding business, hiring women, achieving financial independence

Urgut, Samarkand region, Uzbekistan

After Dilrabo R’s husband died, she faced the challenge of supporting her two small children. She completed tailor’s courses and started sewing clothes for women living in the same village.

Dilrabo heard about the microcredit organization and its group microloans. In 2010 she gathered four of her neighbors and friends, who were in a situation similar to her own, and applied for a microloan. The micro credit organization gave them loans, and also worked closely with the four women to develop their business skills.

With the microloans Dilrabo was able to double her sales and started making wedding dresses. At first, she employed three young women, who have since become entrepreneurs with their own businesses. Now Dilrabo is training nine young women from other nearby villages.

“My dream is to build my own house and live there with my kids,” she said. “Now I’m saving my earnings to make this dream come true.”

UNDP in Uzbekistan is working with microfinance organizations, including social economic development centre “SABR,” providing technical assistance and support to ensure that they provide quality services, and encourage new jobs and small business opportunities.

Critics have said that Micro Loans Don’t Make a Macro Difference. Do you know women whose lives have been changed by access to micro finance?

  • Microfinance has had its critics, but the success of a programme like this which helps women in business start ups seems undeniable.

    • Hi Helen, I’ve used Kiva to assist with micro loans, and they seem pretty good though there are critics. I’m wondering if there are providers who are better? Any suggestions?