Srinagar, June 18: In 2006, RubeenaTabasum from Yarikalaan area of Chadoora in Budgam district took up the challenge of flower business and named the small business United Floriculture. Today, she is an inspiring face of the Kashmiri businesswoman.
She thought of starting a business when she was inspired by the radio show “Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain” and that became the reason for her establishment.
“I heard about an initiative by the J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) and after a few interviews I was selected for a training program after which I started my business under the name Flower Business cut,” she said.
Tabasum said that soon after the EDI program ended, she started with a greenhouse on 3 plots of land owned by her husband and grew carnations and lilies. “I then sold them in the flower mandi in Delhi and was surprised to get a positive response,” she said.
United Floritech is a leading manufacturer of rose oil, lavender oil and more. Currently, she is cultivating lavender on 300 Kunals and rose on 100 Kunals with the production of lavender oil of 150 liters and 1000 liters of rose water in addition to kgs of rose oil.
Tabasum said that initially there was no bank support as most financial institutions were not sure her plans would work, so she had to opt for a consumer loan.
Later, she won the J&K Bank Woman Entrepreneur Award in 2007, after which there was no looking back and it gave her more confidence.
“My business started to grow, I used to sell cut flowers in the Delhi flower market, but with the expansion, I added wholesalers in Jammu and locals as well,” she said.
She thinks the cut flower trend has increased in Kashmir in recent years. “We supply cut flowers to hotels, airport authorities, offices and florists,” she said.
Many Kashmiri women like her have taken some kind of initiative despite limited resources and excel in their work. Although the successes of these entrepreneurs are often chronicled, their difficulties and struggles are rarely mentioned.
Whether it’s getting lighters from banks, starting her business, or winning J&K Bank’s Women’s Entrepreneur Award, her initiative has become a source of employment for others. It currently employs about twenty people.
She got married when she was in 12th grade. Later, she finished high school with her in-laws, graduated and pursued MBA studies through IGNOU.
Later, she took hundreds of canals of land on lease from Bugroo Budgam for a new essential oil project. The Technological Mission of the Floriculture Department provided initial support for this project.
“I intend to grow essential oil flowers through contract farming where I will provide free planting material and technical assistance to marginalized farmers living in these areas,” she said.
After years of hard work, Tabasum now manufactures essential oils including Lavender Oil, Rose Oil, Rosemary Oil, Geranium Oil, Thyme, and Clary Sage Oils.
“Essential oils were branded as pure, natural flavors. These oils have a huge demand in domestic and international markets as they are used in the industry of perfumes, edibles,” she said.
The success story of the aromatic crop entrepreneur is encouraging for beginners.
“We have a team of highly experienced professionals, and their strong support enables us to provide the highest level of satisfaction to our customers. We have earned a reputable position in this highly competitive industry,” she said.
Notably, Tabasum is also a member of advisory board of Jammu and Kashmir Kissan and a member of extension board of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology, Kashmir.
This year, she received three awards, including the Champion Farmer Award from Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha, the Emerging Women Entrepreneur Award from the Ministry of MSMEs and MSE Forum, and the Innovative Farmer Award from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, commonly known as Pusa Institute. –National Agricultural Research Institute of India.
While talking about her wrestling days, she said it had been a tough road for her.
“I come from a village, a small village where people stick to their roots and any change is always wrong, especially for women,” Tabasum said.
Speaking about unemployment in Kashmir, she said young people should stop chasing government jobs and start their own businesses.
“There are so many untapped resources, so many avenues that can be used, that not only can they start their business, but can become job generators for others. I believe in empowering others while empowering yourself and that’s what always drives me,” she said.