Successful entrepreneur, empowered woman

Mir Javeed profiles the success story of Nuzhat Maqbool, a young and successful entrepreneur, who is the only female distributor of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) from the valley

Nuzhat Maqbool is the only female distributor of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) from the valley.
Nuzhat Maqbool is the only female distributor of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) from the valley.

Draped in a toe-long over-garment (Abhaya) capped with a scarf, Nuzhat Maqbool, 37, represents the changing face of Kashmiri women who aspire to move ahead and achieve success in life while remaining anchored in their socio-cultural foundations.

Entrepreneurship is closely linked to the idea of emancipation, which is always accompanied by the yearning for socio-economic empowerment. And in a population that is completely patriarchic in its social structure, a successful tale of a woman business entrepreneur appears as enterprising as it sounds inspiring.

It is a story of a young woman entrepreneur, who is the only lady distributor of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) from the valley. Married to a police officer Muhammad Maqbool from Varmul, Nuzhat hails from Pattan.

Having completed her graduation in science from Government College for Women M A Road, Nuzhat joined Computer City, Rajbagh for an 18-month diploma. Soon after completing her diploma in 1998, she got a private job in Monaco Agency as a computer operator on a monthly salary of Rs 7000. Being in the thick of it she learned the basics of business, whether it was finance, marketing or distribution.

And here she felt inclined towards business and began toying with the idea of starting her own enterprise. But it took her almost four years till 2001 to give shape to her ideas. And during this period she had to face many problems but her commitment and honesty prevailed.

In 2001 she got a rented shop in Hamdard Complex Batamaloo and started her small business. Initially she arranged the finances out of her own savings and engaged her own brother in retailing.  She would attend her business in mornings, till 10 am, and then rejoin after 4pm till 9 pm in the evening.

Finally, in June 2002 she left the private job and began her transactions with J&K Bank’s Batamaloo branch under the title of M/S EN EM AGENCIES. She worked hard and became Haldiram’s distributor in Oct 2002. As the markets here mostly run on credit her working capital soon dried up.  She went to her bankers (J&K Bank) and availed Rs 2 lacs in the form of Cash Credit.

Since then the bank finances kept enhancing as per the requirements of her market expansion. In 2005 she shifted to Shaheed Gunj near Neelam cinema. Today the agency is distributor of Agro-tech Foods Limited, Haldiram Manufacturing Co. ltd, Cremica, Nutrine Cadburys, Nature Fresh Oil, Mangal Foods, Trimurty Foods etc.

The graph of her business success is remarkably impressive. In just seven years, from just Rs 150 on the very first day in June 2002, the sales have soared up to Rs 55 lacs for a quarter-year. The annual business turnover for the financial year 2007-08 has been over Rs 2 crore which speaks volumes about her business acumen.

The idea of emancipation has its own meaning and context in every society and culture. But, for Nuzhat economic empowerment must go hand in hand with it so that it acquires substance and strength.

Enjoying the C/C limit of Rs 10 lacs from J&K Bank’s New Secretariat branch, she has employed 4 people as Marketing and Sales Executives. Her agency incurs expenses worth more than Rs 55,000 every month including the rent and the salary of its staff. The agency owns four auto-front load carriers for distribution of the FMCG goods.

Draped in a toe-long over-garment (Abhaya) capped with scarf, Nuzhat personally attends to every crucial detail of her business. She thinks that business is an ideal profession for women.

She has been the lone female participant attending various distributors’ meets organized by Haldiram outside the valley.

“Now I feel confident as well as independent because I don’t have to be subservient to anyone’s whims and wishes. And there is always space to move forward provided you have commitment and sincerity of purpose”, she says. Quite liberal in her aspirations and decent in conduct, she is the reflection of the changing faces of Kashmiri society representing the women who aspire to move ahead and achieve success in life while remaining anchored in their socio-cultural foundations.

Even her husband, whom she believes to be the ‘best husband’, allowed her to continue the business for which she has always remained grateful to him. Her modest lifestyle, according to her, always helped her to earn trust and respect from not only family but also society in general.

“And in that context without the moral and financial support offered by J&K Bank, it would have been impossible to be what I am today”, said Nuzhat.

Now she wants her educated sisters and brothers in J&K to take charge of their lives and avail the financial support from the bank whose motto and practice is really to empower the people.

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