||Kandelous is a remote village located in the Kojur region in Northern Iran, which used to be disconnected from main roads and therefore from urban visitors, and which economy relied mainly on agriculture and cattle.
Kandelous Group is a conglomerate consisting of a combination of an herbal business, rural tourism, and cultural activities. It has introduced the concept of mass production of herbal medicine, cosmetics, oils, foods and hygiene products combined with rural tourism in Iran. Key actors who shaped the business model include Kandelous Group’s charismatic founder, Dr. Jahangiri, native to the village; the central government and rural council; media, universities and travel agencies for marketing and awareness raising; and the local community itself.
The company produces and sells more than 125 types of herbal products in a profitable way in the domestic and international markets, with a presence in more than 2,400 drugstores in Iran and seven countries, and attracts more than 50,000 tourists per year. This has significantly changed the economic base of the region as well as the living conditions of the low-income residents. It has created market linkages, spurred entrepreneurial activities but also generated more than 200 direct and several indirect jobs. Increasing the share of monetary-based and non-farm activities in the region has helped the local economy to become more diverse, and therefore less vulnerable to negative agricultural shocks. Moreover, the company benefits the environment by introducing new plant species and promoting natural products and lifestyle.