Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Ravi Pillay and Nomandla Ngcoya. Picture: Supplied
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Ravi Pillay and Nomandla Ngcoya. Picture: Supplied

Student lauded for her business acumen

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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DURBAN - THERE was plenty of praise for 28-year-old businesswoman Nomandla Ngcoya who opened her chemical manufacturing plant in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

Ngcoya is the owner of D Chem Group, a company she founded in 2017. Her new plant, which manufactures detergents and cosmetics, has the capacity to produce 10 000 litres of products daily.

Ngcoya is also a fourth-year PhD candidate in medicinal chemistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

She featured in the Mail and Guardian Top 200 young South Africans (science and technology) in 2016 and is utilising her academic and research know-how to create products that find use in daily life.

Some of the products can be found in retail outlets in Pietermaritzburg.

Creating employment opportunities in the vast field of chemical manufacturing was a passion for Ngcoya and this found expression through D Chem Group, which already employs six people. The number of her employees was set to increase to 10 with the opening of the new plant.

“My goal is to be the leading detergent manufacturer and traditional medicine supplier in Africa. I am driven by my love of independence and fear of mediocrity,” Ngcoya said.

She said it was an emotional day remembering the trials and tribulations she faced along her journey. This included getting into the market and securing funding. She started with R1200 in 2016 making dish-washing liquid.

“All I could afford was a 25-litre container of dish-washing liquid. I bought packaging. I got a graphic designer to design stickers for me. It took me eight months to sell that 25 litres. It was discouraging for me. Many people asked me for a sample. I had cases where people said ‘leave the product on credit’. In 2017, I lost R13 000 because of credit.”

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Ravi Pillay said this was the start of a much brighter future for Ngcoya.

“This is extremely inspiring. We are proud to have young people like you in society. Not only have you attained education for your personal betterment but you taken all that knowledge, put it together and applied it. We want to see more young women educated and more young women leading the charge in confronting the challenges they face,” said Pillay.

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