When thinking of creative startup economies, Kabul, Afghanistan is probably not the first ecosystem that comes to mind.
But that perception is about to change. The unifying and uplifting message of the creative economy is beginning to take shape in the region. This year Kabul-based ASARA Consultancy partnered with CBC and, for the first time, Afghanistan will be represented at the Global Finals in November (Copenhagen). The story is empowering and uplifting and CBC got a chance to sit down with ASARA’s business development manager, Ahmad Faisal Angaar, to learn what it’s like to launch a business in a region of the world known more for its wars than its creativity.
“When we hear about the creative industry, we think about the benefits to society. The creative industry is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, it is also one of the most transformative. Creative industries create jobs and contribute to the well-being of communities,” says Angaar. Like most ecosystems, the success in Kabul will largely depend on getting communities involved by driving awareness. “The partnership with CBC encourages and motivates young people and startups to think about problem solving. These event eventually lead to a bigger community of thinkers that will produce more creative. This is important because these creative will change the world,” says Angaar.
The entrepreneurial culture is nascent in Kabul and is not very big, according to Angaar. Resources are a challenge — most startups rely on donors — and technology is unreliable at times. And of course, there is a cultural learning curve for the region. Building awareness is key to overcoming these challenges. And that’s what Angaar aims to do with CBC. Through sheer force of will, he hopes to reshape and impact the economic future of his country – and create awareness of opportunities in the region.
“When we help our society learn by providing education to everyone, the war will disappear,” Angaar says.
This year, Kabul-based startup Maktab e-learning app will take the stage with many other startups from around the world. The company is based on blockchain theories and uses AI to guide its users to the proper content. The content is educational.
“The mentality of running a business in Afghanistan has to change. Startups should know they are part of an ecosystem – a community. By sharing and exchanging ideas through platforms like CBC and other initiatives, this will happen“ Angaar concludes.
The story out of Kabul is one of hope and unity, community and education, creativity and progress. It’s pretty much everything Creative Business Cup stands for. The power of this movement in a war-torn part of the world is testament to the thinking and philosophies that will help make the world a better, more peaceful place.