Imperial College of Business
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher
Undergraduate School and Major / Degree programme: London School of Economics and Political Science, LLB Bachelor of Laws
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your life so far: Co-Founding the Zola Collective and starting an export value chain from Zimbabwe to the Middle East.
Was Entrepreneurship always your career goal? Not at all! In fact my dream was always to climb the corporate ladder.
What led you to pursue an MiM at this point in your personal development? After completing my undergraduate in Law and working in the field for a year, I decided I wanted to pursue a masters in a more interdisciplinary field to help me decide on my next career steps
How did you decide if a MiM was worth the investment? I met my co-founder during the MiM – totally worth the investment
What other MiM programs did you apply to? How did you determine your fit at various schools? I applied to the MiM at LBS as well and chose to apply to schools where the core modules stood out to me and where study abroad opportunities were available
What was the key factor that led you to choose this Masters in Management and why was it so important to you? I was always keen to pursue a career in the Energy field, and Imperial College Business Schools masters stood out to me as I had the opportunity to study an energy management module at Imperial College. This then helped me secure a job in the field after completing the program.
Tell me about your venture: The Zola Collective provides a platform for small scale African businesses to access the global marketplace. We screen, select and help entrepreneurs scale-up their operations by providing guidance on best practices to market and retail their products online. Zola’s team has expertise and insights into sourcing, packaging and selling locally grown produce in international markets. We commercialise indigenous species such as Baobab, Moringa and Hibiscus and market them in the food, drink and cosmetic industries. We have developed a competitive advantage by building our own ethical supply chain that employs female farmers, preserves biodiversity and has a low carbon footprint.
How has your business school experience helped you in creating and launching your business? Business School gave me a solid foundation of the basic tools to start a business from studying modules such as HR Management to Accounting to Marketing I felt I had a basic understanding of the key skills required to start a business. Secondly, there was a big focus on teamwork and developing the people skills and learning to work in diverse teams has been instrumental to The Zola Collective Journey.
What activities/experiences have most benefited you on your entrepreneurship journey during your time at business school? Participating the in the European Business Game, completing a Business Stimulus module, entrepreneurship module and completing a consulting project with PWC allowed me to have hands on experience and introduced me to the world of entrepreneurship in a very practical way which set a solid foundation to start The Zola Collective
What quality best describes the MiM classmates you’ve met so far and why? Extremely ambitious
What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies? The biggest learning for me was understanding the Triple Bottom Line theory, and how business should incorporate a measure of their success by understanding their impact on the planet. This has been very key in setting up The Zola Collective and including sustainability into all our operations.
What are the next steps for you / your entrepreneurial venture? Onboard as many local African businesses onto the platform and start selling globally!
Where do you see yourself in five years? It’s tough to say, given the current circumstances, but I hope to be continuing The Zola Journey, taking our platform worldwide and promoting exports out of Africa.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE MIM ENTREPRENEURS OF 2020