Tinny Masesi (AKA Lindiwe) Nkuna

Ngaraga Properties (Pty) Ltd T/A Lindiwe Sanitary Pads

What does your company do?

Lindiwe Sanitary Pads is Africa’s first large-scale manufacturing company of sanitary pads that is entirely female owned. We specialize in manufacturing and distributing sanitary pads and pantiliners for women from middle- and lower-income communities. Our goal is to produce affordable, high-quality products, ensuring that women do not have to resort to low-quality, counterfeit, or knockoff pads that are uncomfortable, leak, break, or roll when walking. We also offer private label production services, creating sanitary pads to a client’s specifications and requirements. Our clientele encompasses governments, NGOs, retailers, wholesalers, cash and carries, and distributors. In the year 2024, we helped keep over 20 000 girls in school by providing a year's supply of sanitary pads, ensuring that they did not have to miss school due to lack of menstrual management products. We have a production capacity of 800 sanitary pads per minute and can produce 4 different ranges with our machine.

What is your biggest success?

We have accomplished several notable milestones, including successfully fundraising over R100 million investment to industrialize our operations. Our machine is capable of producing 800 sanitary pads per minute, making us the first woman owned large scale sanitary pads manufacturing company in AFRICA. We also constructed a 3000 SQ factory in a loadshedding-free industrial park. During our peak seasons, we employee over 90 women, which has allowed us to expand our production capabilities. Furthermore, we’re proud to have been listed as a national housebrand supplier at Clicks, and we have recently registered as a vendor for Dischem. We an employee host company that partners with government and private sector to provide skills transfer and work readiness programs for the youth. Our products have successfully passed the rigorous SABS, SANS 1043:2010 product testing process. In addition to the above achievements, I am honoured to have been recognized with the Presidential Black Industrialist Excellence Award 2022 for Women, and the Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) 2023 for Emerging Business.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

-Initial funding challenges due to lack of capital, manufacturing experience, and business skills, resulting in a lengthy process of building market share, brand recognition, and industry experience before becoming funding-ready. -Starting a capital-intensive business with limited resources led to increased costs due to outsourcing production, lower profit margins, and limited product ranges. -Difficulty transitioning from a small, one-man operation to a professional corporate business with established systems and processes. -Limited access to business networking events, mass markets, and global platforms, hindering growth and expansion opportunities. -Perceptions of the business as a charitable organization leading to more requests for donations than the business can afford. Therefore, its often difficult to achieve a balance between profitability and social impact. -Building a factory with production capacity to compete with multinationals with no mentor or blue print within the industry and being able to access markets that will match our production capacity. - Finding staff that are a right fit to the company culture and forming partnerships with that we can collaborate with to accelerate our brand building efforts.