LIHLE LAMOLA

ML International t/a Belo Organics

What does your company do?

ML International PTY (LTD) t/a Belo Organics is an essential oils producing company which was established in 2015 and started operating in 2019. The company is currently managed and operated by black young chemist women entrepreneurs. Belo Organics grows, harvest, distil and distribute the essential oil products. The company has recently established a beauty and personal care division, which uses our essential oils as an active agent in the production of our beauty range which includes but not limited to facial serum, body butter, shower gel, hand wash and hand lotions. There is a high demand for essential oils globally and South Africa because of its soil type and diversity of climate is well positioned to service the escalating demand. With increasing demand for production volumes is the high quality requirements of exported essential oils. Our essential oil crops are organically grown in our farm under the Magaliesberg mountains.

What is your biggest success?

We have managed to self fund our operation from start to finish which amounted to over R100000. The capital was used for operational expenses which included growing, harvest of crops and finish products. Furthermore, we have achieved high yields on our harvest and distillation of oil which made the business profitable and achieving the return on investment. We have contributed to the alleviate of poverty and job creation through the employment of the youth from the local community. We have empowered our employees with the skills and knowledge of growing, maintaining and harvesting of essential crops. Both the founders have completed the "learn while you earn" annual program and "Beauty and personal care" annual program through the South Africa Essential Oil Business Incubator (SEOBI). The company has been accepted to become a member of South African Essential Oil Producers Association (SAEOPA).

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Biggest challenge has been the lack of funding for expansion. Challenge of access to market, mainly international markets which has stringent requirements and high costs of product certification. Unforeseen and unprojected farming challenges such as change in rain season, the past season we had less rainfall which meant finding alternatives such as implementing full irrigation system.