Some insights from our first social business intern in Malawi
Are you business-savvy? Have you got nouse, know-how, and a nose for a deal? If you’re getting into business development and are interested in social entrepreneurship in Africa, then you’ll want to read on.
Recently, Lea Jarworski was the first intern to complete our new Entrepreneurship Internship with Supreme. Supreme is a remarkable social enterprise doing urgent work, and we’re tremendously excited to be working with them. What’s more, we were elated to hear that Lea had nothing but good things to say about her time with them. In this article, you’ll read how Lea describes her experience interning with Supreme, as well as, all you need to know about the newest of our internships in Malawi.
– By Tom Rusbridge
Key facts about our Social Entrepreneurship Internship
- Location: Nkhata Bay, Malawi
- Academic Focus: Business Development
- Length: 3-6 months
This internship is for any young entrepreneurs ready to make an impact in the world. High school graduates looking to spend their gap year on something worthwhile. University students looking for the best business development summer internships. Young professionals with a new career path in mind. Essentially, any budding entrepreneur with a strong interest in social business.
Supreme is a social enterprise committed to combating period poverty in Malawi. As Lea explains, “Supreme is a social enterprise; 100% of the profits are reinvested in the community or the business. The organization seeks to empower women and girls around Malawi to thrive at school, the workplace and their life beyond by giving them access to affordable reusable sanitary pads and education on menstrual health management. Supreme also advocates for menstruation rights and runs other projects focusing on female empowerment.”
Lea’s Internship in Malawi
Lea, a young Parisian currently doing her master’s in business management at the Schema School of Business, recently came to the end of 18 weeks with Supreme. As mentioned, Lea was the first to complete our Social Entrepreneurship Internship, so we were keen to ask her a few questions about the experience.
What motivated you to apply for our Social Entrepreneurship Internship?
“I’ve always been interested in sustainable social impact and women’s empowerment so this opportunity seemed like the perfect fit for me. Working with Roots, I was able to tailor the internship to my academic studies and the skills that I wanted to develop. The encompassing mission of Supreme drew me to the organization so I could develop personally and professionally while doing tasks that I truly enjoy and care about.”
What were your responsibilities during your internship?
“My social entrepreneurship internship was centred around assisting the executive manager of the project in various tasks regarding the development of the business. This included:
- team management
- handling of orders
- communications (both internal and external)
- skills development
- content creation
- annual report completion
- scaling up of project extensions
- creating a podcast
I got to work directly not only with the Supreme team but also with members of the community who have all touched my heart and inspired me to continue working in a space that values personal connections.”
Can you share any highlights from your time in Malawi?
“One of my highlights was a pilot of an art competition at a local primary school on themes of gender equality and menstruation. The children were tasked with painting various topics in any way that felt true to them. It was a touching experience seeing the kids get into the project as many of them have never had the opportunity to paint. They were engaged and eager to immerse themselves in the activity and really seemed to grasp the topics we were discussing. It was powerful to see how art can be a medium for learning and connecting.
Another highlight was starting a podcast called Liwu La Amayi that gives a voice to influential Malawian women. I had the chance to interview powerful women that are active members of their community and connect with them through their compelling narratives. Hearing their stories showed me the meaning of hard work & dedication and the importance of uplifting the voices of women. I hope that this podcast will inspire girls and women around Malawi as they’ve inspired me.”
What are your career goals, and has your Social Entrepreneurship Internship helped shape them?
“After graduating, I hope to specialize in Corporate Social Responsibility and potentially in Sustainable Investing. Getting the chance to see how a social enterprise works from the inside gave me an insight into what really goes into building a sustainable business that empowers its employees and uplifts its surrounding community.”
How, if at all, has your internship helped your professional development?
“I met incredible people in various industries of Malawi that motivated me along my journey and may offer valuable connections for projects in the future. I was given the freedom and tools to push myself in being more autonomous by taking the lead on projects and making a tangible impact with my work.
Although working in an international and intercultural environment proved challenging at times, through the help of those around me I was able to grow my team working and communication abilities.”
How do you feel about the skills and experience you gained during your Social Entrepreneurship Internship?
“I know that everything I’ve learned will contribute to my future career and influence my decision-making process when deciding on what I expect from a company in terms of CSR and Sustainable Investing.
Doing a social entrepreneurship internship with Supreme has taught me skills that I otherwise would not have had the chance to develop and I couldn’t be happier with my experience.”
Your Social Entrepreneurship Internship…
We’re always looking for ways to improve here at Roots. That’s why we check in with our interns to see how their experience matches up to expectations. However, sometimes it’s also nice to hear things are great just the way they are. We think that this Entrepreneurship Internship is one of our best opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, and we’re happy to hear that Lea agrees.
Has reading about Lea’s ventures sparked your interest in social enterprises in Africa? Well, we wouldn’t blame you. But let’s not jump the gun! If you like the sound of this program, be sure to look through all of the business development internships we offer. There might be something you like even more.