Dilangez grew up in a family of six in a small village in Tajikistan. From a young age, she was passionate about design. Her mother taught her how to sew at home, and soon she was designing clothes herself. In the 10th grade, she sewed her first dress. Friends and family started putting in requests, asking her to sew clothes for them.
Dilangez soon realized she might have a chance at starting her own business. It was a dream of hers for a long time—and maybe an avenue out of poverty for her family. Her grandmother lent her a sewing machine and she took steps to make this a reality: from taking orders at home to doing side-jobs as a seamstress.
With the help of a small grant, Dilangez launched her business with just two employees. Yet Dilangez soon realized that her design expertise, and even her university degree, would only take her so far. She needed entrepreneurial skills to sustain and grow her business.
Dilangez discovered that UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education offered a business planning course and she enrolled. Within weeks, her business approach transformed. She explains:
“The course was a turning point for my business. It improved my knowledge and helped me make a successful pitch to receive funding.”
Today, she employs seven women in her sewing workshop, and with her collection of designer dresses, serves an estimated 200 customers per month. The women employed by Dilangez can now support their families.
Dilangez is determined to develop her capacity further by studying fashion design. She hopes to create more jobs for other women and one day offer her products to the entire country.
For Dilangez and students like her, UCA’s SPCE program offers an opportunity to not only take flight and launch a small business, but also to reach new heights as an entrepreneur.