Ms. Hassina Syed is the Founder and President of The Syed Group of Companies based in Kabul. With over 15 years of business development experience, a former refugee from Charikar, Hassina now ranks as one of the most encouraging successful entre-preneurs in Afghanistan. Her “organic” management approach is based on her energetic willingness to learn through experience.
Hassina was the first Afghan woman member of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the only woman to participate in the official trade delegation led by President Hamid Karzai to Europe and Asia.
She serves on President Karzai’s delegation for international trade envoys as well as being a Senior Advisor to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program.
Ms. Syed is mentored by Lora Villarreal, Executive Vice President of the Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc.
Ms. Syed has a long track record of working with all levels of the Afghan government both at the provincial and municipal levels. As a landowner and local business woman, Ms. Syed has faced many opportunities operating within the current government structures and has successfully lobbied at multiple forums over the past five years to push for greater regulation of government oversight. Her unwavering commitment to the development of Afghanistan is recognized through her successes in working with both Afghan and international organizations.
Born and raised in Afghanistan, fluent in Native Dari, Pasto, Urdu and English, internationally recognized by the Washington Times, Forbes, The Guardian and others, with insightful courage, Hassina created, launched and expanded several organizations and businesses to meet the ever growing needs of the Afghan community.
Hassina’s unique professional accomplishments include:
Foundation member and current President of the Afghan National Women’s Organization (NOW), a non-governmental organization with over 1,200 members supporting interests of Afghan women in business and society.
• Since 2008, Ms. Syed has encouraged the global community to support women’s rights, promoting justice and gender legal education, peace, governance, and participation in social affairs, politics and economic processes. Ms. Syed is leading her members in working towards transparency for woman rights and policy for women at all levels of Afghan government. Ms. Syed’s efforts have been recognized as unique within the current development framework in Afghanistan because of her insistence on success through Afghan traditions and culture.
• Owner of AHR Co. trying to raise funding to make quality mattresses in Kabul, a majority of the workforce will consist of women.
• Owner and Proprietor of the ABZA Gandamack Lodge Hotel in Shar-e-now, Kabul Afghanistan. The Hotel provides guest housing and meals to international tourists, CNN and worldwide media officials. First of her many businesses, the Gandamack Lodge Hotel was the stimulus to Ms. Syed to provide expanded services; launching a continuing series of successful businesses in Afghanistan.
• Parwan Experimental Farm (PEF), a government research farm at Badam Bagh, employing over 65 women who grow and sell vegetables to hotels, restaurants and in the Bazaar. The PEF introduces new farming techniques to Afghanistan, incorporating a drip irrigation system that was developed in the deserts of UAE. Using these new practices allowing farmers to grow food on barren land, The PEF will serve as a unique demonstration model to the Afghan Farmers of how ‘the process’ can work for them. A French NGO will provide financing to the farmers so that they will be able to replicate the farm project in their Home province.
• Al Hussina Foods, a Dubai based distributor and exporter of agricultural products, partners with a major UAE Food producer. The team distributes products in the UAE and to India which generates revenue for a loan program for the Afghan famers, enabling them to become financially self-sufficient.
• Syed Trucks, a Trucking Company distributor of Bedford Trucks from the United Kingdom, sells vehicles to the Afghans for the Afghan logistics market. It is anticipated that by 2012, Syed Trucks will import over 525 trucks; owning/operating five service garages.
• Established and Operated Kabul Express & Tours from 2007 to 2009; a corporate travel management company consisting of 12 employees, (7 women, 4 men), provided comprehensive travel programs, services and leasing of armoured cars to corporate and individual travellers.
• Ms. Syed has an Undergraduate Degree in Medical Science from an acclaimed university in Pakistan. She is well educated, well spoken and an exceptional analyst on Afghan affairs. She is widely sought after by US envoys and other International agencies for her positions on Afghan development, as well as being a regular participant in working groups on government and economic reform.
Hassina’s vast achievements are based on her insightfulness, identifying her ‘on-the-job’ training supporting the community and workforce needs. She creates solutions, empowering the local, national and international community to speed the recovery effort in Afghanistan. Ms. Syed recognizes that if recovery is to succeed, more emphasis must be placed on developing Afghans, helping them achieve long-term goals and commitment to their families, their community and their country.
An ambassador for the business and investment community in Afghanistan, Hassina is working on financial reforms to expand microcredit and major loans for women owned businesses. To further improve a war-torn country’s long term financial sustainability, Hassina plans to launch an Afghan woman owned Mega-Finance Bank, providing mid-size to large loans for women who have big ideas for big business; a great investment to promote Afghan business women, the community and ultimately the country.