A Zambian woman who graduates from Heriot-Watt University today has launched a new bakery and confectionery business using some of the knowledge from her Master in Business Administration degree.
Margaret Sakufiwa, 33, has opened Nalu's Treats in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and hopes to build the business into a new brand, with several outlets across the city.
Margaret is a graduate of Heriot-Watt’s Scholarship for Women in Zambia programme, which was launched in 2019 in a partnership between the Scottish Government and Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt’s graduate school of business. The programme offered 20 fully-funded online MBA scholarships to women in Zambia who were passionate about business and tackling gender inequality.
The MBA helped me with financial decision-making and the use of financial tools to price my products in a way that is not too high for the market, but also enables me to factor in overheads and other materials.
“I come from a family where women have never gone further in their education,” Margaret said. “So for me to go beyond my undergraduate degree to attain a Master's degree is a source of great pride for me and also for my family.”
Margaret said women in Zambia often didn’t earn enough to invest in improving their skills and training.
“One of the barriers that holds back a lot of women from advancing their education and careers is lack of access to finance,” she said. “Many of us don't earn enough to enrol into a programme. For example, if I was paying for the Women in Zambia Scholarship myself, I would have paid over 245,000 Zambian Kwacha (£10,500) to get the degree. That's something I couldn't have afforded out of my own my pocket.”
Nalu's Treats bakes and supplies cupcakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes and cakes for different occasions.
“My company provides confectionery treats to customers within Lusaka,” Margaret explained. “My goal is eventually to grow the business into a Zambian brand with at least five outlets. I currently only have one person working for me, but as I progress in the business, I hope to employ more people.”
Margaret also hopes to launch a finance consultancy to help improve financial literacy in Zambia.
“I’d like to help bridge the gap in financial literacy in Zambia,” she said. “I want to partner with schools and universities to teach financial literacy and advise people on how to manage, save and invest their money.”
This would build on Margaret’s undergraduate degree in Adult Education from the University of Zambia, and her experience working in a bank for four years as a Business Development Executive.
Margaret said the knowledge she has gained through the Edinburgh Business School MBA, including modules in Financial Decision-Making, Corporate Governance and Strategic Marketing, has helped with both of her business ambitions.
“The MBA helped me with financial decision-making and the use of financial tools to price my products in a way that is not too high for the market, but also enables me to factor in overheads and other materials. Because of that knowledge from this course, I was able to design a marketing plan for myself.”
Margaret said she felt “extremely honoured and privileged” to have completed her MBA and added: “I am indebted to the University for giving me this opportunity.”
Margaret has travelled from Zambia to graduate in Edinburgh at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus.
The Women in Zambia Scholarship was delivered online, allowing students to combine study with work and home life in their own country. Heriot-Watt University has more than 1,000 alumni in Zambia with qualifications in subjects including accountancy and finance, management, brewing and distilling, construction management and business and enterprise.
Professor Angus Laing, Executive Dean of Social Sciences and of the Edinburgh Business School, said: “Widening access to our degree programmes is a key priority for Heriot-Watt University and our Women in Zambia Scholarship with the Scottish Government was an important part of this.
“I am thrilled to congratulate Margaret on her graduation today and wish her every success with her business ventures.”
MBA students complete seven core courses and another two courses chosen from a portfolio of subject areas. The seven core courses are: Developing & Executing Strategy; Economics for Business; Leadership Theory & Practice; Strategic Marketing; Delivering Successful Projects; Financial Decision Making and People, Work & Organisations.