Kashmir is growing as a new investment destination. It’s not just the traditional businesses, but instead, the local people, are setting a benchmark for the whole country by venturing into new business models as well.

Rameez Raja, a young Kashmiri entrepreneur, has launched cultural mud houses in the Gandar Ball area and Kangan area to attract tourists. So far, three mud houses have been constructed using locally sourced materials. He calls this initiative of building beautiful and aesthetically constructed houses ‘Kulub mud houses’.

Raja said that the idea came to his mind after the tourists expressed the desire to see a display of local culture.

Soni Gilani, another young entrepreneur from the valley has opened a new fashion outlet and cupcake bakery and confectionery. She opened her venture after she came back after completing her studies in the United Kingdom.

The initiative is also getting much-needed national as well as international attention. Recently, the Kashmir Entrepreneurship Conclave 2022 invited around 500 applications for investing in Kashmir for business purposes.

Sheikh Ashiq Ahmed, the Chairman of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that they want to keep the youth engaged in such events.

“We are focusing on these kinds of youth-oriented programmes and events so that we can keep them busy and engaged,” Ahmed told ANI.

Since the investment in the valley has been opened to foreign countries, the reports have been positive. In March, a 31-member group of investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in the first-ever overseas visit to the valley. They met local artisans and discussed business prospects while also praising Kashmir’s beauty.

Abdulla Mohammed Yousuf Al Shaibani, the Chairman of Emirates International Investment, seemed very impressed after the visit.
“We are very impressed from the visit, Kashmir is a great destination from the business point of view. Whether someone is coming from India or from any other country, one can do great business here,” the Chairman said.

Other than these, several schemes are working for building a progressive mindset among the Kashmiri youth.

Himayat Scheme: The scheme aims to provide support and training of 3-3.5 years to 10,000 youth (18-35 age group). Further, the scheme also provides financial assistance to at least half of the trained youth for starting their own ventures.

Tejaswini Scheme: It targets Kashmir youth girls (18-35 age group) to set up gainful employment ventures suited for local conditions such as fashion, bakeries, knitting, handicrafts and pickle-making business.

This entrepreneurial mindset in Kashmir is setting a benchmark not just in the valley, but for the whole of India. As a result, India’s entrepreneurial rate has increased from 5.3% in 2020 to 14.4% in 2021. So, it will not be an exaggeration to say that young entrepreneurs are playing a great role in India’s economic growth.

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