How it's like to be a female entrepreneur in modern Iran

How it's like to be a female entrepreneur in modern Iran
How it's like to be a female entrepreneur in modern Iran

Femalefounderspace interview with  Pardis Rostamzadeh , Co-Founder and CEO of BASA Polymer:
BASA Polymer created a technology to produce resin flooring materials that are resistant to chemical spillage and mechanical impacts.

When did you come up with the idea of opening your own company?

In my second year of MA, one of my classmates back then – my co-founder now- brought up the idea of developing new formulations for a resin-based flooring material that were not present in the Iranian market at that time.

You have reisn flooring for so many different industries like marine industry, hospitals and healthcare, aviation and so much more. How did it all start?

One of the main challenges we had at the beginning was convincing clients to make a purchase. This is harder for B2B businesses like us. We found a pharmaceutical company that was looking for a durable resin flooring material suitable for their warehouse. All they had tried before had failed. So, they asked us to apply a sample, and they did a field test by dropping their heaviest container to our flooring sample. They were surprised when the sample stayed intact without any signs of cracks or de-lamination. This was a start for our long-term cooperation with this company. And as they were a well-known pharmaceutical company, this helped us start negotiations with other factories in this area as well.

Iran is usually perceived as a patriarchal society, what is it like to be a female entrepreneur in Iran?

Iran’s economy suffers from mismanagement, recession, inflation, pandemic, and sanctions. Being an entrepreneur in this situation is not easy at all. It gets harder when you are a woman and apart from a difficult economical situation, you feel constantly humiliated in your everyday life. For me, it is even tougher because the industry I am working in is completely male-dominated and you can rarely find women in it; they usually only work in the sales and as clerical staff. Sometimes I receive letters with salutations for the company’s achievements addressed to a male recipient as if nobody could imagine a woman in charge.

What would you advise to young women who want to start their business in Iran?

First of all, I recommend all my fellow young woman entrepreneurs to believe in themselves. There is nothing you can’t handle. Also, try to learn as much as you can to overcome any possible underestimation by showing your proficiency. Asking for help and networking is crucial for speeding up the process. Talk about your achievements, try to create a personal brand, so that you can inspire younger generations.

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