An article was published in Rising Kashmir dated 25th April 2021, which showcased Graphicweave as the only woman owned software development company in Kashmir. Here is the article as in Rising Kashmir.
Valley women programme their way into IT sector
Today\’s women are at par with men and work with equal dedication, and passion. They are entering every sphere of entrepreneurship. While some are making strides in fabric business, others are creating new clothing lines in their boutiques. Then there ar
Posted on Apr 24, 2021 | Author LUBNA RESHI
Srinagar, April 24: We are seeing so many women shunning their jobs and starting their own ventures in Kashmir. Though starting a business comes with a lot of risk, yet women in the Valley are willing to take a plunge only to nurture their dreams.
Today\’s women are at par with men and work with equal dedication, and passion. They are entering every sphere of entrepreneurship. While some are making strides in fabric business, others are creating new clothing lines in their boutiques. Then there are some who have ventured into the food industry and started their restaurants and cafes.
However, off late, there is one more phenomenal trend emerging in the Valley. Some women are further pushing the envelope by exploring the male dominated domains like information technology.
Lubna Reshi talked to some of these women who are successfully leading in IT business here.
Instead of waiting for a job offere, these women started their own ventures. Not only are they doing great for themselves, but are also providing employment to others.
Â Asma Yasrib
CEO of GraphicWeave, Asma Yasrib was more into writing, drawing, and poetry when she was young. But today she is a successful IT businesswoman of Kashmir.
The missionary school pass-out, Asma is one amongst the first bloggers of Kashmir, who would write extensively about Kashmir and related things.
Asma moved to Malaysia along with her family when she was in class 9th and did her Masters in Management Information and Systems from there only.
She returned back to Kashmir when she felt she wanted to go back to her roots.
“I felt Kashmir was calling me. So I returned back after spending a major part of my life in Malaysia. After my return I worked with an IT company BQE for five years.â€
Though Asma was doing a reputable job, however, to do something of her own was always on the back of her mind.
So in 2008, she made her first move.
“I rented an office space and got it renovated. I was just about to start the business when Amarnath land row happened and all my hopes got dashed.â€
For the next six months, the space was closed and she was paying the rent for nothing.
When political instabilities hindered her way, she left for Mumbai and worked there for some time. No sooner did the things come back on track, she took a flight to Srinagar and began chasing her dream once again.
Propelled by her passion to get her venture started, Asma in 2009 finally started GraphicWeave.
“GraphicWeave was founded in 2009 as a small web design studio in Srinagar. The primary goal was to use best technological frameworks and stunning designs to deliver websites, corporate identity, and other creative solutions to people,”recalls Asma.
Today, GraphicWeave creates and supports creative work across the globe and offers a wider range of services than what it initially started off with.
“We have clients from Canada, US, Malaysia, Japan, Azerbaijan, Dubai, Australia and locally,”says Asma.
Today this young IT professional is full-fledged into developing web and mobile apps.
“I manage a full-stack design and Development Company with focus on building cloud based, high performance and scalable mobile (iOS and Android), web and desktop apps. We have over the years developed various apps for web and mobile. Our tech-stack comprises Golang, Node.js, AngularJS, React.js, React Native, Vue.js and more. Our clientele comprises startups and established businesses across the globe including those in the IT sector who like to hire remote managed developers.â€
Asma is preferred among her clients as she and her team always tries to be on the forefront by making use of the latest technology.
“Sometimes our clients are surprised when they find us at par in technology with other parts of the world.â€
Though it is difficult to run an IT venture in Kashmir due to intermittent internet gags but never losing hope is the key, she says.
“I suffered a great loss during the last lockdown in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. I wanted to move to Delhi but being a mother I couldn\’t do so. I think this is the limitation as a woman that you cannot take your whole family along and move about.â€
However, Asma coped up the loss with the projects she got afterwards. She believes in working to the best of her abilities and gives best to her clients.
“I always believe that if you do mediocre work, you can never achieve your goals. You have to give your best, no matter what.â€
Â Tabish Khan and Benish Nayeem
This young duo in their mid-twenties started their IT venture AdVorld in late 2019 when they were laid off from a US based IT company after the internet services were snapped off in the Valley immediately after the abrogation of Article 370.
“Benish and I used to work together at two places – both IT companies. Within no time we became friends and shared a unique chemistry. When we both lost the jobs we planned to start something of our own,”Tabish maintains.
The two, one day while discussing their future over the phone discussed about starting their IT venture.
“We had the experience, we know what works and what not so we thought let\’s give it a try.â€
They started working on 2G speed and got in touch with the people through LinkedIn.
After months of hard work they finally got a client from Dubai and since then they have been receiving projects from different parts of the world.
“We wanted to focus on digital marketing as that was our forte and we wanted to revolutionize that in Kashmir since the concept is novice here. Besides that AdVorld is a freelance content writing company that provides SEO friendly content writing services to the clients which include blog writing, website content writing, editing web content, caption writing, etc. for digital marketing purposes,”Tabish remarks.
Today the duo has a team of specialized writers, freelance designers, and graphic artists working with them and is a strong team of seven people.
Benish and Tabish feel amazing to be an employer rather than an employee. “We are working for every fraction of a second to provide the best quality services to our clients and we enjoy doing our work. It is a blessing when you have direct communication with your clients and you don\’t need to follow anyone\’s instructions.â€
In the past two years, the duo has expanded their services to Social Media Marketing, Website Content Writing, Article Writing, Blog Writing, Product Reviews and Descriptions, Technical Writing, Press Release. Script Writing etc.
Coming from a media background, Tabish always wanted to create a niche for herself though she knew there are many challenges. “When I entered the university, one of my professors told us that we should get ready for unemployment because the media industry in Kashmir has little jobs to offer, however, I never wanted to be unemployed. I chose a stream which was new and I knew there would be a lot of opportunities in it. So I opted for online media as a specialization.â€
Tabish didn\’t go to a typical news writing job but chose a different way. She opted for content writing with an IT company and within no time she was promoted as senior content writer.
It was in the same company as that of Benish, who was B.Tech in computer sciences and was into technical writing.
After working for over a year in the organization, they together got a job in a US based IT company but couldn\’t work for longer due to the post abrogation scenario in Kashmir.
“Some of the staff working in this company were laid off as they winded up business here and left for Delhi. Soon we lost touch with each other due to communication blockade. Nonetheless when the landlines were restored I somehow got in touch with Benish and discussed our future course,â€Tabish remarks.
Today the two are successfully running their business. However they think that society needs to be more acceptable towards female IT experts.
“We try our best to provide quality service to our clients but we have few Kashmiri clients who doubt our capabilities being women. There are trust issues about females here. Whenever we visit an industrial area to pitch our services we are being asked about a male presence.â€
They think that stereotypes are perpetual but it\’s the work that matters at the end.
Â The duo together want to create a work environment worth working for employees.
According to Benish Nayeem, Advorld is very close to her heart because it kept them motivated and acted as a source of their income in harsh situations.
“We are continuously working towards its growth and would definitely want more people to be part of it.â€
Â Kaif Mir and Koshiya Saleem
The twin sisters had just graduated from the university when they got their first project. B.tech in computer sciences, the sisters pulled up their socks to put their education in use and designed the website for a famous food outlet in Kashmir.
The website was live in eight days and was a result of hard work of eight sleepless nights and equal tiring days of the two sisters.
“I had actually gone there for a writing job when I was offered the project. At that time I really couldn\’t believe that we had been offered our first project,”says Kaif Mir.
Although, Kashmir always had a dearth of jobs, but it was never a problem for the sisters as they never looked for one.
“The opportunities came knocking at our door. Once we were done with our first project we received much accolades and began to get other projects and that is how we started our IT Company KreativeJhonys,â€Kaif adds.
They named the company after their father\’s name who is fondly called Jhony and used the initial K â€“ from their names.
Initially it was very difficult for the twin sisters to sustain because of the patriarchy in the Kashmir society.
“Some people don\’t accept that a woman can also do a good job. It took us quite a long time to get used to this fact and it really gave us a hard time as well. In fact we still face the bias but now we have learnt how to deal with it.â€
But the obstacles did not deter their will power and they continued doing their job and formed a team of three people which includes twin sisters and their one more partner.
When Article 370 was abrogated KreativeJhonys were not able to meet the demands of their clientele in UK, Canada, Dubai etc. So it was in those days Kaif decided to move out and resume the work from Delhi.
Today eight people are working with them and they are running their company from Kashmir, Hyderbabad and Delhi.
Right now they are working upon many projects which include working with a UK based event management company, a pharma company and designing local e-commerce apps.
Besides this Kaif works with a Canadian based company as a tech writer and Koshiya is working as a manager at a company in Gurgaon.
The two began working from their university days only and have set an example of how with dedication one can move the mountains.