Wezie Chirwa has just finished an MBA at Kent Business School. She was recently awarded a Santander Grant of £2,400 towards her food production business, Bread Lovers.
Tell us about your Business
Bread lovers is an innovative food making enterprise that makes and sells bread and confectioneries. We are based in Lilongwe, Malawi. Our aim is to be an impactful business that provides products that play a role in enhancing Malawi’s development through promoting nutritional diversification, value addition, import substitution, women and youth economic empowerment.
Where did you hear about the Santander Grant?
I first heard about the grant the ASPIRE team who sent me some information. Rebecca and Arthur from the ASPIRE team were very helpful throughout the whole process and they were very keen to ensure that I was well informed about this amazing opportunity.
How much will you receive?
The grant is for £2400 pounds and it’s a good start towards boosting my start up business.
What will you use it the money for?
I will use the money to boost operations for our baking and food processing company. We are innovating ways of making products using locally produced ingredients sourced from smallholder farmers, e.g., sweet potato and soybean flour, which are more nutritious, healthier and cheaper to substitute the imported wheat flour.
By using locally produced ingredients sourced from our smallholder farmers, mostly women, we will support value addition, promote import substitution, and thereby raise poor farmers’ incomes. We also plan to offer baking business lessons to unemployed women and the youth to help make them become economically self-reliant.
How has your MBA assisted your vision and business acumen?
The MBA experience has been an amazing journey. The lessons from lecturers and interactions with fellow like-minded students from across the world will have a major impact on my professional career. I am feeling confident that I have obtained both theoretical and real-world advice and experience that offers me countless opportunities to improve myself.
What were your favourite things about the course?
I l liked the fact that staff on the MBA were sharing extensive practical experience in their respective subjects. It was also really beneficial to deal with real-life companies, analysing their problems, and devising workable solutions to those challenges.
The cohort were incredible too, I got to work with individuals from different countries and in different areas of business, which enhanced my experience of working with people from multicultural backgrounds and points of view.
Where do you see your business in the future?
I want my business to be highly profitable while being very impactful on the communities it serves. In the medium term I want to expand my products to be known in the Central Region of Malawi. In the next 10 years, I want my baked products to be a household name at national level.