Margaret Has Taught Me More Than Just How To Bake

Baker anna Mhlanga, 56, lives with her husband Jimmy in Somerset West. With the help and advice from businesswoman Margaret Hirsch, she’s found success in a new career. I left my job as an administrator at a local technikon in 2004 after working there for nine years. My husband, who is a pastor, needed my help to be more involved in the church. Not having my monthly income made things financially difficult, so I enrolled in a baking school to learn how to make cakes that I could sell in my free time.

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The only problem was my baking wasn’t that good and it was hard to start a client base from scratch. At the beginning of 2014 my daughter Bongi attended a business lecture by Margaret. After the talk, she approached Margaret for advice about my baking venture. My story must have touched her, as Margaret invited us to meet her a few weeks later to see if she could help me. tHe JOurney Margaret’s first task for me was to make a profit from my ingredients.

My next challenge was to find women who were willing to pay me for a baking lesson. Surprising myself, I managed to complete both of these easily. Margaret then gave me the opportunity to perfect my baking skills using proper equipment in one of the Hirsch’s kitchens – without wanting anything in return. With my new skills, my business, Bonaria School of Baking, quickly grew, and now I don’t only make cakes to sell but also teach other women to bake. Bongi heads up a kitchen in Centurion and also teaches a number of students.

When my husband was transferred to Cape Town earlier this year, Margaret built a kitchen at the store in Somerset West so I could continue working. I couldn’t have grown my baking venture without Margaret’s belief in me. She’s not only provided me with advice and a space to create work for myself, but she has given others the opportunity to learn a new skill too. Businesswoman and entrepreneur Margaret Hirsch, 68, lives in Johannesburg with her husband allan. I believe in empowering women and giving them the tools to grow.

When Bongi told me about her mother Anna, I knew I wanted to meet her. From the beginning, Anna showed a great work ethic and I wanted to take a chance on her. She proved me right. I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to help others – I paid it forward to Anna and she is now paying it forward to the students she teaches at the kitchen. I hope all the women who learn from Anna and Bongi will one day pay it forward, too.

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