Nusrat Jahan left her promising government job to start a business in selling flowers. But, she never dreamt that she will become a role model for others and will be able to provide job opportunities to Kashmiris.
Born in Dadoora village in south Kashmir, she graduated in computer applications in 1999 and soon started working as a community organizer in Jammu Development Authority. But, she was not satisfied with her job and quit it to start her own business.
The idea of setting up a floriculture business came to her while she was studying in Delhi. She gave it a try in 2000.
She started her journey with an exhibition of fresh flowers in Srinagar. Incidentally, it was organised with no investment at all.
“I brought flowers from wholesale dealers in Delhi with a commitment of paying the money in a week,” she said.
The week-long exhibition was a grand success. “For people here purchasing fresh flowers was a new experience,” said Nusrat.
She not only managed to pay back the dealers and the hotel but also made a significant profit.
From her earnings, she rented out a shop in Jawaharnagar area in Srinagar. This was the first shop of its kind in Kashmir which sold fresh flowers.
Nusrat hard work started yielding results and her happiness knew no bounds when she bagged an annual contract from Jammu and Kashmir bank for the supply of fresh flowers.
This was followed by other government departments placing orders for flowers.With each passing day, her business flourished.
She soon landed the franchise of Ferns and Petals- a major retail chain of flowers in India. The franchise brought better professional and marketing support and aided the further growth of the business.
Presently, her firm Petals Agretax operates two floriculture farms. Here, she grows flowers for local consumption and export.
“Today we produce a number of flowers like Gladdulus, Carnesium, Lillium, Roses and Tulip at the farms,” adds Nusrat who plans many more farms.
On the future of the industry, she says that Kashmir has a huge scope for the development of this business with a huge potential of export.
Nusrat is the symbol of women empowerment in Kashmir and also, a torch bearer for a whole generation.