Volunteer Spotlight: Yasameen Sajady

Meet entreprenuer Yasameen Sajady; a business owner with a passion for giving back.

It’s a warm summer day, perfect for having a great chat with an incredible woman. Entreprenuer Yasameen Sajady, sitting perfectly centered on the screen, bubbles over with excitement. “I’m a business junkie,” she exclaims. “I love talking about my business, other’s businesses, businesses ideas, anything – it’s just so great!” Her laughter echoes through the speakers. She’s charismatic, fun, and sharp as a tack. You can tell she’s extremely business savvy – and has a boundless joy for sharing that savviness with others.

This year has been extremely difficult for the small business owner. Here at WomenVenture, we’ve seen a larger need for entrepreneur support in the form of mentoring and volunteering. Yasameen is one of the many incredible entreprenuers who came to us wanting to give back. She currently volunteers with us as a trainer for our Getting Ready class, providing foundational business knowledge, resources and support to aspiring business owners. “I wanted to volunteer specifically with WomenVenture because I love business, I love women, and I wanted to give back to the community,” she says. “I asked myself, ‘What kind of world do I want to live in?’ and decided that my ideal place had a plethora women business owners and leaders.” And she’s certainly making efforts to make that world a reality.

Yasameen is dedicated to volunteering because she wants to be the voice that her family needed when starting Mazaah. She describes mentoring as a symbiotic relationship: “It’s amazing to meet other women entrepreneurs coming up with these brand-new ideas. Even during a pandemic there’s so much momentum and excitement at the start of our entrepreneur’s journey. I excite them, and they excite me!” It’s clear just how passionate she is about sharing her knowledge with other women in business.

What makes Yasameen such an effective trainer isn’t just that she’s personable and bright – she’s also living the life as a small business owner. Maazah Chutney began production in 2014, “back when I [Yasameen] had a day job,” and has been going strong ever since. This is a family business, built by Yasameen, her mother, and her two sisters. The chutney itself is “inspired by Mom’s secret cilantro and ginger chutney recipe, a magic green sauce that adds a fresh kick of flavor to any meal.” Mazaah chutney has grown exponentially, starting off as a farmer’s market product that’s now in 25 retail stores across the Twin Cities.

WomenVenture relies heavily on our extensive volunteer network to provide guidance, community, and support to women entrepreneurs. Trainers like Yasameen give our clients the tools they need to be successful in their entrepreneurship. “Sometimes we have these ideas of who can be an entrepreneur, who can be a business owner. Sometimes we don’t think we can be one of those people. Proving that business owners can be anybody – regardless of gender, race, or background – is exceptionally important. You don’t have to go school, have the industry connections, or the best idea in the room to start your own business. Just talking with someone who tells you it’ll all be ok, to follow your idea as far as it goes, can make all the difference.”

To get involved in the entrepreneur community, click here to learn how to volunteer. You can pick up a jar of "magic green sauce” from “Mazaah” online, or at a local farmers market.