Bathabile Mpofu

Nkazimulo Applied Sciences

What does your company do?

We make portable science kits for use by primary and high school learners at home and school to help them become confident scientists. The kits are aligned with the school curriculum. Many schools in SA do not have laboratory resources and many learners get to do science experiments at university. This becomes an overwhelming experience not only impacts their confidence but also their performance and eventually drop out or change their careers altogether. This is a problem because South Africa doesn't have enough students who become doctors, engineers, scientists and innovators. We believe that every child must have an opportunity to fall in love with science and excel in it. We also provide big science kits in mobile cabinets and we provide teacher training to perform science experiments.

What is your biggest success?

* Started with 1 product, now we have 14 products * We’ve been in business for 7 years, survived covid 19 and looting in KZN * Imported containers from overseas 3 times * Employ 4 people excluding myself, and all have life cover which the company pays for * We sell on Takealot * We are in a process of buying premises to operate from * I’ve been to Turkey, Israel and the USA because of my business as I also grow as a leading woman in my industry * We have 5 resellers who we supply at varying scales- one has been buying from us every month for 4 years now * We supply 4 online schools * Our kits are used in over 100 schools all over South Africa and we have impacted over 100 000 learners. * In 2023, we built a laboratory from scratch and furnished it with science equipment, at Bizimali High School (see the picture uploaded).

What has been your biggest hurdle?

My current challenge in my business is in operations: * We do a lot of work manually, and with increased workload, the quality of the work is now suffering. Using equipment that will help us bottle and label the bottles and this will improve the efficiency and quality of work. We are not buying the equipment because we need the money to pay the deposit for the new property * we operate in a space that now too small for us, so we are in a process of buying property to operate in. * we are running low on stock which we must import in order to sell good quality products at reasonable prices for the parents and schools we are targeting. Good quality education doesn't have to be expensive, only accessible.