Durban - A human capital consultant from Pietermaritzburg stands a chance of winning one year’s salary which will enable her to leave her 9 to 5 job and pursue an entrepreneurial dream of running a successful business, creating African dolls and other children's products.
Nonhlanhla Mthethwa, 38, entered Standard Bank’s My Fearless Next Campaign when she discovered the prize is worth the value of one year’s salary capped at R1 million as well as mentorship from Standard Bank’s entrepreneur development programme.
“I've always wanted to do this business full time however, being a working person and not having enough funds, you can't just leave when you've got responsibilities,” said Mthethwa.
Mthethwa and her partner, Muleka Nzimande, began saving for their self-funded business more than 10 years ago and finally registered their company called 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 funds we will improve on the hair,” she said.
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, why dont I make a doll that resembles her so that she also gets to feel that she's beautiful. I also wanted her to be represented on the toy shelves,” Mthethwa said.
The Girlz Ink team chose to call the doll Baby Thando because it’s an African name that means love.
“We wanted an African name that our kids can relate to and Thando means love. So they will be giving love to a doll that teaches them how to love other people,” she said.
The campaign, which launched 12 weeks ago, is in its final leg after six weeks of intense bootcamp rounds where entrepreneurs had to go through training and mentorship.
Mthethwa will on Wednesday compete against Marice Mercuur, founder of Marice Rooibos health and beauty products, Nkosinathi Machine, founder of SADC Fuels, Collins Kwadi, founder of Mzansi Memes, Shiraz Ahmed, founder of SA Aquatics and Kamogelo Kekana, founder of Akida Digital.
Mthethwa said she is excited and scared at the same time.
“There’s so many opportunities that will open up because I’d be able to do this business full time. My advice to others would be to follow their passion. If you believe in something make it happen even if you do it part time on your own,” Mthethwa said.
The overall winner will be announced on Wednesday night at 8:30pm on SABC 1.