Nonhlanhla Mthethwa, 38, of Pietermaritzburg, was announced as the first winner of the accelerator programme last week, beating 9000 applicants.
The campaign was a three-month, televised competition that identified young entrepreneurs who were running a small business on the side while still working normal jobs.
The current human capital consultant said apart from expanding the business and products, she is also excited about creating job opportunities to empower other women.
“This will allow us to create job opportunities especially for women in the rural areas. They can assemble the moulds and make the clothes,” she explained.
Mthethwa and her partner, Muleka Nzimande, began saving for their self-funded business more than 10years ago and finally registered Girlz Ink in 2015.
“We designed the Baby Thando doll and sent it to be manufactured in China. It came back complete and we started officially selling the dolls in 2015.
“With the cheeks and complexion, the doll resembles an African girl, and as we get more funding we will improve on the hair,” she said excitedly.
Mthethwa said the idea came to her at the age of 25 as she searched toy stores for a doll for her then 2-year-old daughter.
“That’s when I realised I should make a doll that resembles her so that she also gets to feel that she’s beautiful,” Mthethwa said.