After decades of war and instability, social entrepreneurs are stepping up to help move Afghan society forward–especially when it comes to women-led startups, in an environment where women face obstacles to other employment paths and women entrepreneurship is set to affect an even greater change than in some other areas. This feature from Fast Company details the many challenges and goals faced by women entrepreneurs and those who support them in Afghanistan.
fastcompany.com – It’s been 15 years since U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. In the capital city of Kabul—the world’s fifth-fastest-growing urban population, which jumped from half a million in 2001 to over 4.6 million—the Afghan government struggles against a worsening humanitarian situation. As U.S. and NATO troops continue to withdraw, so do international aid workers.
Typically, the burden of international problems such as poverty, disaster, and war are left exclusively to governments and nonprofit organizations. In recent years, a new approach has emerged. Social entrepreneurs are spearheading job growth and stability, and a burgeoning private sector seeks to stabilize the economy and break the dependency on foreign aid.
They walk a fragile line. They must build networks with trusted government workers, the international business community, young students, and professionals. Many Afghan business leaders hope to attract investors who will bet on them to secure hard-won gains in human rights, especially for women.