St Albans businesswoman is jewel in the crown

PUBLISHED: 06:57 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 06 May 2010

Shona Lockhart

Shona Lockhart

A CHARITABLE businesswoman has pledged a percentage of sales from her online jewellery company to help women in Africa. During a visit to Africa, Shona Lockhart, of Brampton Road, St Albans, set herself a personal target to raise £1 million for charities

A CHARITABLE businesswoman has pledged a percentage of sales from her online jewellery company to help women in Africa.

During a visit to Africa, Shona Lockhart, of Brampton Road, St Albans, set herself a personal target to raise £1 million for charities helping the continent in five years, and she hopes her newest business - Blue Dog Jewellery - will help her achieve that goal.

She will donate 10 per cent of sales to The MicroLoan Foundation, adding to the £100,000 total she has already raised for Oxfam through her St Albans-based language translation business, The Language Factor.

Shona, aged 49, said: "I have a successful business and I have the chance to give something back, so it is an important thing for me to do."

When she visited Malawi a couple of years back, Shona noticed that a lot of women were keen to start their own business and become self-sufficient. The MicroLoan Foundation aims to reduce poverty by lending money to groups of women to build a sustainable business of their own choice, such as market trading, clothes making and selling fish.

It provides ongoing training and guidance to ensure the success of each business, which creates independence from aid and not dependence on it.

In time, the loans are repaid and the money invested in helping more women establish businesses.

Having run her translation business for 17 years, the mum-of-two decided to start up the jewellery website to build on a long-term interest in arts and crafts. It showcases the work of talented contemporary jewellery designers and many of the pieces sold cannot be found on the high street.

For more information about her business visit www.bluedogjewellery.com

n The MicroLoan Foundation will be holding an evening at St Albans Abbey next Wednesday, November 13, between 7.30pm to 10pm.

There will be various stalls at the event selling ethical Christmas gifts, including one where Shona will be displaying the jewellery from her business.

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