The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Turkmen company Orlan, held the final event of the Handmade Exports 2021 (HME) startup incubator program on Saturday.
The event featured a crafts exhibition of Turkmenistan’s artisans and a competition of ten program finalists, presenting their new businesses, products and progress achieved throughout the HME program to a panel of judges, the USAID said in its press release.
Addressing the event participants, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan Matthew Klimow said, “In an era when digital transformation is shaping every economic and social sector, it is particularly exciting to see that these new technologies have reached the crafts trade which is typically known for being traditional and tied to a specific geographical location. Your creativity and passion have made your masterpieces available to the people in the U.S. and other countries through online services such as eBay, Deliverr, Payoneer, Etsy and others”.
Six program participants received prizes from the organizers and sponsors. Maya Orazmyradova, a lifelong carpet weaver and businesswoman who makes and sells Turkmenistan's finest handmade carpets, won first place thanks to her sustainable business model, innovative entrepreneurial approach, and excellent presentation skills.
As a result of the Handmade Export 2021 program, 16 program participants opened their individual eBay stores in November 2021. A total of 190 products worth over $24,000 are listed on eBay and targeted primarily to North American buyers. In addition, 12 of 16 program participants sent a consolidated batch of 105 items from Turkmenistan to Deliverr’s warehouse in the United States in December 2021.