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Afghanistan's Innovators: Gayle Lemmon in <em>Fast Company</em>
Innovation | October 16, 2012

Afghanistan's Innovators: Gayle Lemmon in Fast Company

In a recent article for Fast Company, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon profiles the ambitious Afghan entrepreneurs who are innovating their way out of war and toward a better tomorrow. Lemmon's groundbreaking book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, told the story of a brave Afghan woman who created a hundred jobs during Taliban rule. In the article, Lemmon describes the next generation of Afghan innovation—a group of young, hopeful tech minds who see the untapped potential of a country ravaged by a decade of war. From web designers, to tech consultants, to blog hosters, these unlikely tech professionals are united by a common sense of hope. One entrepreneur told Lemmon, "technologies in Afghanistan are growing every day," while another told her: "I want to see blogging grow so much in Afghanistan. I want every Afghan business to have its own website. And I want to be the one who provides that service." Lemmon has always been fascinated by the transformative power of the entrepreneurial spirit—particularly in areas where conditions are so poor that ambition scarcely seems possible.

In her talks, Lemmon champions entrepreneurs in war-torn areas, showing us how these fearless businesspeople are defying the odds and rebuilding their communities. "Afghanistan's would-be tech moguls would not be true entrepreneurs if they were stymied by fears about a future they can't control," says Lemmon, adding that, "in their commitment to keep hurdling all obstacles, these entrepreneurs are no different from their counterparts a world away in Silicon Valley." Instead of thinking of those in war-torn countries as victims, says Lemmon, we need to think of them as potential business leaders who are simply lacking in opportunity. One of Lemmon's interviewees puts it best: "No one wants war if they have a job."
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