A passionate entrepreneur, 28-year-old Nomuntu Ndhlovu has long known that business can’t just be about creating profit. As the managing director at SiyaBuddy Recycling and Waste Management, she’s changed the lives of many in allowing them to earn a sustainable income – all while having a positive impact on the environment.
“The purpose of my work is to create opportunities that make the lives of people around me better. I thrive when my work impacts more than just me,” she says.
SiyaBuddy Recycling and Waste Management is a buyback centre in Steenbok village, Nkomazi municipality in Mpumalanga and currently employs 28 young people and provides 1 033 indirect jobs to waste pickers selling to the company.
“This company has impacted more than a thousand people in my community who now have a place to sell waste that they collect around the community. It’s created 28 jobs for young people. It’s also allowing me to think outside the box and create innovations that can impact the world if scaled properly,” she says.
Ndhlovu was named the Young Entrepreneur of the year by the French South African Chamber of Business and Commerce for her continued work at SiyaBuddy Recycling and Waste Management, but continues to hold personal narratives in mind as the achievements that best inspire her.
“My perspective of my work changed when a woman coming to sell her waste said to me ‘I’m so happy this company was created. I am now building my children a two-bedroomed house with this money’,” Ndhlovu says. This was a moment that reaffirmed her commitment to her entrepreneurial endeavours.
“It changed my view on how far recycling, as a business, goes – and how one good deed cascades down to everyone around you, compounding from person to person.”
In addition, Ndhlovu chairs the Nkomazi local tourism organisation, which she joined after spotting a gap in the development of rural tourism while assisting her mother in running a guesthouse. The organisation aims to promote the tourism industry in the Nkomazi municipality, communicating the tourism products of Nkomazi both locally and internationally through trade shows and online advertising, providing training to product owners in partnership with the municipality and the national department of tourism, and promoting sustainable tourism with its database of skills and products that the tourism establishment can source from community members. — Cayleigh Bright