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Pantone Donates Color Guides to Afghanistan's Women Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 -- The Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), a global nonprofit coalition of businesspeople volunteering to help women in war-torn countries grow sustainable businesses, today announced a significant in-kind donation from Pantone of more than two dozen color and planning guides. The guides are being immediately deployed in Afghanistan to train women entrepreneurs in the fashion and home accessory industries to use color communication guides and color forecasting books for local design and production. These professional tools, which typically retail for $165 - $795 each, would ordinarily be far out of reach for the fledgling entrepreneurs. A portion of the Pantone gift was delivered in person during a visit to Kabul of six Bpeace volunteers in December. The mission is part of a three-year program to mentor, train and coach high-potential Afghan businesswomen who collectively employ nearly 450 Afghans in the apparel and accessory industry. "Pantone supports the work of Bpeace and is pleased to offer these important tools to help Afghan women entrepreneurs innovate as well as meet the exacting standards demanded by the global marketplace," said Lisa Herbert, Pantone's Executive Vice President Textile, Home & Fashion Division. "As the leader in packaged colors for design and production planning and reference, Pantone's donation is a priceless resource for our Afghan associates," said Toni Maloney, chair of Bpeace. "Pantone is equipping our entrepreneurs with the tools they need for a color evolution in Afghanistan, which has been isolated by 25 years of war from the vibrancy that color brings to the rest of the world. Color is not something they take for granted." The December visit is Bpeace's fourth mission to Kabul, Afghanistan. Goals of this mission included: 1. One-on-one work sessions with each Afghan associate to assess business development progress, and develop action plans to address problems and opportunities. 2. Business training with Bpeace associates and more than 130 members of the Afghanistan Women's Business Federation. Training included developing winning business plans, building a successful retail business, effective business marketing and developing a professional success map. 3. Obtaining business funding and financing to further Bpeace networks and relationships with potential donors for Bpeace projects and to identify and link lenders for the women's emerging businesses In 2005, Bpeace and its partner organization Women for Afghan Women won a seed grant from the US State Department to bring 12 talented Afghan women entrepreneurs in the apparel, accessories and home decor businesses to New York's fashion center to address their most critical needs-training and access to the global marketplace. Working with top business leaders and educators in an intensive three-week development program, the trainees attended specially- tailored classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology and on-site work sessions with designers and retailers.




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