Lovely Begum, a 31 year old Nobin Udyokta (New Entrepreneur) supported by Grameen Trust, is the founder and owner of the Akash Chowa Beauty Parlor which is located in Chandpur. Her one-stop shop parlor offers clients a vast number of services ranging from hair care and facials to bridal makeup. She also makes and sells quality stone bags to her fashionably sensed customers and provides clothing tailoring services.
Lovely Begum is the daughter of Nurjahan Begum, a Grameen Bank borrower of the Bagadi Centre who has received a total of 320,000 BDT (equivalent to USD 4,102) in support of her attempt to better the lives of her family members. One of the prime examples of how Grameen Bank has changed Nurjahan Begum’s life is that it loaned her 100,000 BDT (equivalent to USD 1,282) which she used to build her house.
Lovely Begum got married at the age of 13 while she was studying in Class X. She gave birth to a baby boy. Her husband who is a Technician faced financial difficulties to bear the family expenditure. Lovely Begum, who witnessed how Grameen has helped her mother become financially stable, also wanted to make an independent living. To that end, she attended a beautician course. She opened up a small beauty parlor soon after. Lovely Begum felt that by opening her beauty parlor, she could lessen the financial burden of her husband. After starting the business on a small scale, she soon realized that she would need a bigger investment to attract more customers with more quality services. During that time she met the unit manager of Chandpur Sadar unit of Grameen Trust and heard about its Nobin Udyokta program. She presented her business plan at Grameen Trust’s 6th Internal Executive Design Lab and confidently talked about the services she offers at her beauty parlor. She also showed the samples of her handmade stone bags which got lot of appraisal from the audience. GT invested BDT 100,000(equivalent to USD 1,282) to expand her business.
Akash Chowa Beauty Parlor is renowned in Chandpur area for its quality services. With the investment from GT, Lovely Begum added qualitative facial creams and other accessories of beautification as per the local demand which has made it possible for her to earn a monthly profit of 15,000 BDT with projections of this amount growing in the near future. With her income, she is able to provide a better standard of living for her families.
Lovely Begum has high ambitions. She named her beauty parlor as `Akash Chowa’ which literally means touching the sky