Oxford MBA and Skoll Scholar Julie Greene on the rise of The Women’s Bakery
Saïd Business School MBA candidate Julie Greene is a social entrepreneur, Skoll Scholar, and a co-founder of The Women’s Bakery, a social enterprise that empowers women in Africa to earn money, learn business skills and improve nutrition in their communities by baking and selling quality bread. The enterprise, which has partnered with local organisations and women across East Africa, has delivered over 600 hours of training in Rwanda alone, and in some bakeries the income of the women they have worked with has increased by more than 400%.
Julie first travelled to East Africa for her undergraduate degree. Inspired by her travels, and troubled by the economic and social inequality she had witnessed both at home and abroad, she joined the Peace Corps, a US government organisation that enables ‘motivated changemakers’ to work with people in some of the world’s most developing communities.
It was while undergoing training for her deployment in Rwanda that she met her co-founder, Markey Culver. ‘We both began working on community projects specific to women, especially regarding creating greater economic inclusion,’ said Julie. ‘We began to ask ourselves: what do women really need in order to upskill and take care of their families?’
It turned out the solution was at their fingertips. ‘We were both living in rural communities in Rwanda. Neither of us were trained bakers, but if we wanted bread, making it ourselves was necessary. Our neighbours were interested in what we were doing, and so we started teaching people in the local community.’