On October 31, 2017, The Women's Center hosted the Successful Business Management conference at the AUAF auditorium. The President at AUAF, Dr. Kenneth Holland, delivered the opening remarks at the conference. Mr. Attiqullah Nasrat, President of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), and Mr. Muhibullah Wahab, CEO of Kefayat Group of Companies – shared their invaluable lessons learned, experiences, and recommendations with the participants on managing a successful business in the Afghan context. The event also included panel discussions of prominent Afghan businesswomen, three presentations by TWC PDCTP instructors on marketing, branding, and leadership. Through the conference key challenges and barriers to female-led businesses were identified. These included:
1. Limited Financing options: Financing options are limited for female entrepreneurs. This is partly due to high interest rates for financing, currently, available and limited access to property for many women to serve as collateral.
2. Fragmented advocacy efforts: Due to fragmented efforts in advocacy and engagement with government and donor community, a number of qualified female entrepreneurs are being left out of opportunities available including funding, and participation in international product exhibitions.
3. Lack of Innovation: Product and process innovation is limited for many businesses. This is partly due to a lack of qualified product designers in Afghanistan.