Startup Valley is a programme designed for female entrepreneurs to reach their goal of setting up their own business in Afghanistan.

Being on a journey such as setting up a business is attached to some challenges – especially in the Afghan context. There are challenges that stem from society, some challenges stem from the economic environment and other challenges have to do with the individual not tapping into their full potential holding themselves back in different ways.

Philia is a young social enterprise that was founded around a year ago by Nicole Bogott and Tanja Schomann. The organisation offers a holistic approach to female leadership in the business sector and beyond. The approach taken at Philia has been coined “symbiotic coaching” by its founders. Philia teaches a simple yet powerful peer coaching method between two partners, who learn to support one another in sustainable ways. The programme is offered as an online course and in face-to-face workshops.

Over the course of eight weeks, women at Startup Valley worked together in pairs towards achieving their goals. The course was facilitated by Nicole Bogott, co-founder at Philia as well as international relations expert and published author. Through her vast experience in the development context, Nicole skillfully tailored a programme suitable for the Afghan cultural context that leads to vivid interaction between the participants of the class.

Why does Philia support this cause? A healthy business needs healthy business owners and mental health is one important aspect when building one’s own business. Also, for business partners, symbiotic coaching is a way to find symbiosis in one’s business goals and strategy. Therefore, applying the Philia method at Startup Valley has been an overwhelming success.