Nonhlanhla Cynthia Mhlongo

Khwezi Innovations (PTY) LTD

What does your company do?

Khwezi Innovations is a company that works on innovation that promotes Green living. We identify issues related to plastic pollution and waste management, then we co-create innovative solutions that tackles these challenges. The challenge that we recently identified was plastic pollution that is caused by latex gloves that are being dumped on land and they end up in rivers and oceans. We addressed this by introducing our biodegradable 2-in-1 hand glove sanitizer that you apply into hands and it stays effective for an hour. The glove is peelable and dissolves in water within a few minutes, leaving no waste behind.

What is your biggest success?

1. Winning the Greening The Future Awards in the 'Sustainable Design' category and being featured on the Mail & Guardian. 2. Winner of the Most Innovative Business Solution Award in 2023 by the Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR). 3. Selected as a Top 10 Finalist for the HerMeNow Accelerator, and taken on a week business retreat in Dubai this February 2024. 4. Top 50 Most Memorable Women Awardees of 2023 in South Africa 5. Selected to participate in the CSIR Entrepreneurship Development Programme 2024 6. Participant in the BeGreen Africa Business Management training hosted by The Tony Elumelu Foundation. 7. Was selected as a fellow for the Africa Blue Wave and the Regen Wave, attended training in Kenya, and ongoing business development training now. 8. Recently got accepted for the Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), they will help Khwezi Innovations patent their inventions. 9. Nominated for the Southern Africa Startup Awards 2024 as Founder of the Year 10. I got selected as one of the Emerging 30 in the Youth Industrial Innovation Support Programme by YAEI, 2024

What has been your biggest hurdle?

I experience the usual hurdled that all entrepreneurs encounter on their entrepreneurial path, such as limited support, resources, mentorship, and funding. However, my main hurdles were finding the right co-founder and assembling an exceptional team. I started working with a friend as a co-founder, of which did not work, then I worked with a family member and it failed as well. Until I got a mentor, and attended some bootcamp on finding and working a co-founder. After that I gained so much knowledge and skills, and in summary, I am working with the best co-founder now and a competent team.