From a young age, Risolat Gulmamadova was interested in starting her own business.

A 19-year-old woman from Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in Tajikistan, Risolat studies Economics at Khorog State University. Although she dreamed of being an entrepreneur, she didn’t know how to make that dream a reality.

One day, as she volunteered at the American Corner in Khorog, Risolat saw a poster about an entrepreneurship training.

The training was led by the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employability Skills (YES) program. The YES program is supported by Local Impact, a partnership between the Aga Khan Foundation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Focusing on the GBAO and Khatlon regions of Tajikistan, YES is aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and employability skills for youth from 15–24 years old.

Click through the story below to see what Risolat learned in the training and how that prepared her to start her own business—the first of its kind in GBAO.

Turning Skills into a Business: A Story of Risolat Gulmamadova

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The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) aims to improve the economic well-being of women and men, particularly youth. Because small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generate 50% of employment worldwide, AKF focuses on increasing employment and self-employment, building the conditions for SMEs to thrive by investing in training, skills workshops, and connecting people to businesses.