ubeena Tabassum, who hails from Yarikalaan in Chadoora area of Central Kashmir’s district Budgam is a florist who takes pride in being a successful and inspiring face of Kashmiri businesswoman.
Rubeena shared the journey from getting brickbats from the banks to start her business to winning J&K Bank’s Woman Entrepreneur Award in 2007.
Rubeena said that she got married at a very young age when she was in 12th grade. She completed her high school from her in-laws home. Being a dedicated student she finished her graduation from the District College and is now pursuing MBA through IGNOU.
Rubeena said that it was in 2006 when she thought of starting her business when she heard a radio program ‘Manzilein aur bhi hain’.
“I got to know of an initiative by JKEDI (J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute) and after some interview rounds, I got selected for the training program after which I started my own venture – a business of cut flowers,” she said.
Rubeena said soon after completion of the EDI programme, she started with a greenhouse on land owned by her husband and grew some carnations and lilies.
“I then sold them in the flower mandi at Delhi, and was surprised getting a positive response,” she said.
Rubeena said initially there was no bank support as most financial institutions were not confident whether her plans will work, so she had to opt for a consumer loan.
“The fruit of hard work and patience is always sweet and soon I won J&K Bank’s Woman Entrepreneur Award in 2007 after which there was no looking back,” she said.
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“My business started to grow, I used to sell cut flowers in Delhi flower market but with expansion, I add wholesale dealers in Jammu and locals as well,” she said. “The trend of cut flowers has increased in our region in the last few years. We supply cut flowers to hotels, airport authorities, offices and flower shops.”
Rubeena took hundreds of kanals of land on lease at Bugroo – Budgam for a new project on essential oils. The Technology Mission of the Floriculture Department had provided initial support to this project.
“I intend to grow essential oil flowers on the land through contract farming where I will provide free of cost planting material and technical help to marginalized farmers living in these areas,” she said.
After the years of hard work, Rubeena now makes the essential oils include lavender oil, rose oil, rosemary oil, geranium oil, thyme and clary sage oils.
“The essential oils were branded as aroma pure and natural. These oils have a huge demand in domestic as well as international markets as it is used in the fragrance industry, edibles. Flavouring agents are also used in aromatherapy. Keeping this in view we have started bottling of these oils,” she said.
Rubeena says apart from an increasing number of poly houses to a total of seven, growing lillium under shade nets, she recently has started a new venture of exotic vegetables to produce seedless cucumber and other vegetables in poly green through high tech technology and some vegetables are being produced through organic farming.
Rubeena currently has ten employees and from time to time she hires more people when needed.