EXPO 2023 names best Tajik woman entrepreneurs ahead of International Women Entrepreneurship Day

November 17, 2023
A woman with shoulder-length dark hair and sunglasses perched atop her head smiles at the camera while selecting fabrics from a shelf in a well-organized textile workshop. She is wearing a casual olive-green dress and has a wristwatch on her left arm. The shelf is filled with neatly folded textiles of various patterns and colors. In the foreground, a display features an assortment of colorful handmade crafts, including plush toys and decorative items.

Mavlyuda Rafieva, owner of textile company Safi Décor, in her workshop in Khujand, northwestern Tajikistan.

UNDP / Yuliia Samus

Dushanbe, 17 November 2023 – Twenty women entrepreneurs were declared the best in 2023 by the Government of Tajikistan at the 2023 Women Entrepreneurship EXPO – a national business event organized under the leadership of the State Committee for Investment and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan. 

Held on 15 November 2023 in Dushanbe, the event was organized in partnership with the UNDP, UN Women, EBRD, GIZ, FAO, and NGO “Ishtirok.” 

One of the top women entrepreneurs is Mavlyuda Rafieva from Khujand, northwestern Tajikistan, whose small business was supported by UNDP.

Rafieva, owner of textile company Safi Décor has not only been successful in running and growing her own business, but has been supporting other women, especially the most vulnerable, through providing employment and training in digital skills and e-commerce, as well as in cooking, cutting and sewing, patchwork, and national crafts.   

This year’s EXPO event brought together over 150 women entrepreneurs, government officials, private sector representatives, and development partners to acknowledge, support, and celebrate the contributions of women entrepreneurs and business leaders to economic growth and societal betterment in Tajikistan.

UNDP places a particular emphasis on promoting the role of women in developing entrepreneurship, especially in innovative sectors of the economy, in line with digitalization trends.

Lazima Onta-Bhatta, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Tajikistan, said that her organization is committed to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among women in Tajikistan. 

“By empowering women entrepreneurs, we're not only championing gender equality but also promoting sustainable development and economic growth,” said Onta-Bhatta. “When women participate in the economy, everyone benefits.” 

During the EXPO, businesswomen shared their success stories in developing e-commerce, social entrepreneurship, and promoting the green economy in the country.

Sharing specific success stories through panel discussions highlighted the strategies and best practices that have proven effective for women in business. The event was well-rounded, offering a blend of education, inspiration, and networking opportunities to empower and support women entrepreneurs and businesses.

For media enquiries, email us at nigorai.fazliddin@undp.org