Pardakan Tomueva, Founder of Sedep company
Pardakan Tomueva was a medical worker who, after 13 years of service in healthcare, decided to drastically change her life by becoming a businesswoman. Pardakan lives in Tengi village, Ala-Buka district, Djalal-Abad oblast in Kyrgyzstan. She is a testament that women entrepreneurship is rapidly developing across the country, and especially in rural areas, and contributing to reaching economic wellbeing.
Pardakan inherited a sewing talent from her 74-year old mother, Sheker Nazarmatova, and her grandmother, Kyrmyzy Apa, both of who were masters in the art of sewing. Pardakan started in 2012 with a regular sewing machine that belonged to her mother-in-law. Orders came from her village peers, and the growing demand led to her registration as an individual entrepreneur in 2014, the creation of her own ‘Sedep’ brand and diversification of services from simple sewing to producing Kyrgyz national clothes, carpets and souvenirs.
During 2014 to 2019, Pardakan created 30 new jobs – for women – and purchased 21 professional sewing machines by utilizing two grants it had received. With her team she promoted the products at several regional exhibitions and at the World Nomad Games in 2016-2018.
Kyrgyz national women’s coat “chyptama” from the Sedep collection
Excited about her growing Sedep brand, Pardakan was realizing the need for professional knowledge on doing business. In June 2020, Pardakan applied for the ‘Grow Your Business’ acceleration programme implemented by the PEAK Bishkek Business Innovation Centre in partnership with the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education and funded by UK aid from the Government of the United Kingdom. The Grow Your Business programme was designed for small enterprises that seek to transform their businesses by accessing new ideas, technologies, markets, and business contacts.
“Thanks to the Grow Your Business programme I learnt how to effectively allocate the available funds in my business as well as enhanced my skills in bookkeeping and finance”, says Pardakan, founder of the Sedep sewing enterprise.
Right before the acceleration programme, Pardakan managed to attract 1.7 million KGS for building new business premises – 1 million KGS as a bank loan and 700 thousand KG as investment capital. The former premises – a room in her house – could fit only six sewers while other sewers had to work from their homes. Applying the gained knowledge, Pardakan effectively managed the funds and finished the premises’ construction in October 2020. The new premises, which can fit 30 sewers in total, was officially launched in March 2021. During the seasonal rise of orders, Pardakan plans to additionally attract 26 sewing ladies.
Shyrdak (carpet) from the Sedep collection, the most popular attribute of Kyrgyz traditional interior
“I am committed to improving the lives of my village peers through creating new jobs”, says Pardakan. She believes that her small business has a positive impact on her village’s economic development as well as helps in reducing certain social issues that directly impact women, such as divorce and labor migration. Pardakan is currently mentoring two women from her village to help them launch their own sewing enterprises.
“Sedep is one of the unique female businesses in remote areas that makes a valuable contribution to both the economy and society”, says Iskender Sharsheev, Director of the PEAK Bishkek Business Innovation Centre.
PEAK Bishkek Business Innovation Centre was established under the PEAK Enterprise and Innovation Programme funded by UK aid from the UK Government. It offers startups, micro, small and medium enterprises representing diverse economic sectors nationwide the unique opportunities for transforming their ideas and products into viable businesses or scaling their existing businesses nationally and to regional and international markets. By April 2023, PEAK programme plans to accelerate more than 400 startups and MSMEs in Kyrgyzstan, thereby contributing to the retention and creation of 2,500 local jobs.