Sizolwenkosi Mazolo is an accomplished 31-year-old woman who is the founder of a food processing business called Ingcebethu Pvt Ltd. She describes herself as a single Seventh-day Adventist Christian woman and a business strategist who studied business management and strategic management.
Currently studying towards her MBA, Mazolo is a YALI RLC Alumni and a member of the Pan African Game Changers. She was recently featured in the Top 10 Favourite Entrepreneurs by ENZ and listed as one of the Top 20 Young CEOs by CEO AFRICA Round Table.
The Weight She Carries reached out to her to find out about her entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about Ingcebethu Pvt Ltd.
Ingcebethu is a business that was registered in 2019 but became fully functional in 2020. Our vision is to feed and nourish the world. We supply different kinds of nutritious food stuffs that include precooked fortified porridge, grains, cooking oil, fortified mahewu, cooking oil, rice, fortified soya chunks, honey and many more. We also have a frozen range which has mixed berries, mango chunks, smoothie mixes, diced beetroot, diced butternut and mixed vegetables. Some of our clients include Sally Mugabe Hospital, Wedza Hospital, Norton Town Council, ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company), HIT (Harare Institute of Technology), UZ (University of Zimbabwe), Food Basket Shawasha Hills, Fresh Grocer and many other institutions and households.
What motivated you to start Ingcebethu?
Having worked previously for a company that deals with the type of mentioned institutions, I’ve always noticed how poor their diets were. Most food eaten is unappetizing, empty food (e.g., sadza and potatoes at one hospital or sadza and white plain cabbage at one school).
Our products are filled with a variety of nutrients, and since most are precooked, they are convenient for such communities as ours, where loadshedding is the order of the day, because they take a shorter time to prepare and cook.
For our frozen range, the motivation came from trying to find a value addition model to minimize wastage of fresh produce and encourage responsible production. If you’ve been to Mbare Musika (the biggest market in Harare), you know how much produce is thrown away after getting too ripe and rotten.
Tell us about your journey to starting your company and what lessons you’ve drawn?
What I’ve learnt is that starting a business is not easy. In fact, the hardest part is how to start because I’ve always wanted things to be perfect. I’ve learnt that no one is obliged to support you. It’s your path and your dream. I’ve learnt to be patient and appreciate that we might not get it right the first time. I’m blessed with a great team, so the work is made lighter.
What is StemFem, and how is the experience in volunteering?
StemFem Network is a youth capacity-building NGO for girls in science. The name comes from STEM Females.
My experience has been great, and working with the organisation has opened my eyes to great innovations from the STEM ladies. It has also benefited me in building a network of like-minded women who support my own venture.
What is your advice to women who want to venture into your field?
The more the merrier! Let’s really break the bias and realize our full potential. Of course, it’s not easy, and you might not see profits for a while, but giving up is not an option. You also need to really want to do this because many times, you’ll feel fatigued. Be a hands-on person. Know your processes by head, and build a strong support system.
What would you say is your greatest strength as a woman and how has it gotten you where you are?
Admitting that I don’t know it all and unlearning some things which I thought would help me with my career. Having mentors and intentionally sitting down with them to learn and ask questions. I’ve learnt that listening helps me more than speaking because when I speak, I’m repeating things that I already know, but when I shut up and listen, I’m mostly learning something new.
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