In Mozambique, a Woman Entrepreneur is Baking for a Brighter Future

Four years ago, Lúcia Sigauque’s life took an unexpected turn. Discover how a sudden change in her circumstances propelled her into a new role as a successful woman entrepreneur and baker in northern Mozambique.

Situated just off of a bustling street in Nampula, Mozambique, lies a small bakery. Outside, the warm air is filled with the sound of motorbikes and the excited chatter of people selling goods. Inside, away from all the commotion, 35-year-old Lúcia Sigauque deftly swirls layers of white icing onto a vanilla cake. 

A New Beginning as a Woman Entrepreneur

For Lúcia, starting a bakery in 2020 represented a new beginning. After being let go from another job, she needed to find a new source of income but didn’t know what to do next. So, when a local organization offered her the opportunity to take a free six-week baking course, she jumped at the chance. 

In Mozambique, women face higher levels of unemployment than their male counterparts. In 2022, 4.23% of women were unemployed, compared to 3.56% of men. Women are also more likely to have smaller businesses and employ fewer people, have higher demands at home (i.e., caring for the family), and face discrimination and unequal access to networks and information. 

Despite not having previous experience with baking, Lúcia was enthusiastic about this new venture. Once she completed the course, she established her business, Delícias da Lulu. “At the beginning, it was very hard,” she recalled. “[My business] wasn’t known by anyone in the market, and I worked alone.”

Lúcia Sigauque is a woman entrepreneur in northern Mozambique.
Lúcia Sigauque, a woman entrepreneur in northern Mozambique, decorates a cake in her bakery.

Challenges to Manage the Business and Household

“There are a lot of bakeries in Nampula, so to stand out, you have to be great at what you do,” Lúcia explained. “At one point, my business wasn’t running well because I was doing things the old-fashioned way. I had to start thinking outside the box.” 

As a mother of three children, ages 15, 11, and 10, she had the added challenge of juggling many competing priorities. “It’s been challenging being a mom and a businesswoman,” she shared. “I have to wake up very early to take care of the kids, feed them, and organize the house. Then I come to the shop, but I still have to manage the house even when I’m away at the shop.” 

Entrepreneurship Support from TechnoServe

In 2023, Lúcia joined a TechnoServe program working with women- and youth-led micro and small growing businesses in northern Mozambique. FTF Premier-Oholo (PRO) is a $32.2 million project implemented over five years with joint collaboration between USAID ($25.5 million) and SDC ($6.7 million) for the final 3.5 years.

Through the program, Lúcia discovered new opportunities for her business. With support from the team, she formalized her company, which increased trust among her clients and allowed her to attract different types of customers. 

“The program has improved my confidence as a woman running a business,” she said. “I also learned new techniques of how to gain new clients, how to talk to clients, and how to innovate.” The program’s impact on Lúcia’s business is a testament to the potential for positive change. 

One of Lúcia’s biggest takeaways has been how to use social media to promote Delícias da Lulu and interact with clients. She now has an active presence on WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. 

Today, Lúcia’s role extends beyond selling cakes and other baked goods. She is a mentor, teaching other women in the community how to bake.

I get a lot of satisfaction seeing that I help not only the women I’m teaching but also the whole family. Women don’t always believe they are capable, but once they take the lessons, they realize they can bake from home and earn an income.

Lúcia Sigauque

Currently, 75% of her income comes from teaching other women, while 25% comes from the bakery. She now offers different course curriculums (baking and cooking), one that costs $55 over two weeks and another that costs $70 over four weeks. As a result of this growth, she has almost tripled her monthly revenue.

Lúcia Sigauque poses in front of her business with a cake she just decorated. (TechnoServe / Olivia Sakai)

A Woman Entrepreneur Bakes for a Brighter Future

Lúcia has hired two new employees and has established new partnerships with companies by diversifying her services to include catering. She plans to open a second bakery closer to the city center soon. She’s also teaching her employees her baking techniques so they can work at the new shop and she can focus on teaching.

Lúcia’s personal life is also looking bright. “In the future, I want to have one more child,” she shared. “I also started a master’s program this year, studying finance. I don’t see myself working for someone else anymore; I want to run my own business.” 


Olivia Sakai is a senior communications specialist at TechnoServe.