Notre Dame business plans give Zambia a lift

14/07/2011

Notre Dame News Story
Mark Hornshaw (left) and Sydney School of Business students meet Ashley and Tessa Tuttle (centre) from the Pakamisa Fund.

Notre Dame Business students at the University’s Sydney Campus have immersed themselves in Sub-Saharan African business life by developing three social enterprise business plans to promote sustainable and viable industry in poverty affected communities.

As part of an assessable project for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010, the students’ business plans made recommendations to improve sustainability methods in the honey production, fish farming and handcrafted shoulder bag industries in Zambia.

The commodities, intended for export, are largely produced by farmers and villagers in Zambia and can be used to generate an external source of income and encourage employment opportunities in their communities.

On behalf of the 2010 cohort, this year’s students presented the final business plans to Australian social entrepreneur Ashley Tuttle, co-founder of the Pakamisa Fund (which means ‘to lift up’ in Zulu), when he and his wife Tessa visited the Sydney Campus in June.

The Fund links investors with entrepreneurs in the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector to aid disadvantaged communities enhance their standard of living and to release people from poverty through employment and business development.

One business plan that was presented called on subsistent honey farmers to be provided with proper equipment and training by Pakamisa to develop produce suitable for the South African import market; thus generating more income for their villages.

Mr Tuttle said that micro-enterprise and micro-credit were usually limited to sole trader/subsistence level businesses.

However, he explained that allowing investors to take an equity position in SME businesses could increase employment and generate new income to a poor area.

Sydney School of Business Lecturer Mark Hornshaw said the students found it challenging but very fulfilling to work on a ‘real life’ business for their assignment.

“To have the opportunity to work on a project that had so much potential to help people in need was incredibly rewarding,” Mr Hornshaw said.

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Tags: Notre Dame   Pakamisa Fund   Zambia


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