Sinenhlanhla Ndlela is the owner and founder of Yococo dairy-free ice cream. What makes her achievement remarkable is that Ndlela, at the young age of 23, didn’t know anything about ice cream when she started out. She taught herself everything about the industry, how to make the ice cream, how to manufacture it, and how to distribute it — without any business background or specialised training. Today, her business is thriving and she supplies Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
The women in her family inspired her with their strength and determination. She is also inspired by her love of ice cream and her vision for her future.
“I want to show that it is possible to have the words ‘fun’ and ‘healthy’ next to one another,” she laughs. “That’s exactly what I am doing with Yococo dairy-free ice cream. I want to show that you can change the world and serve up love, even if it’s just through one scoop at a time.”
Ndlala plans to run the biggest and most fun ice cream brand in South Africa and hopes to expand her market into Germany in the future. She wants to also use her steady growth to help support her team and to empower more women.
“I want to give people from rural areas the opportunity to grow in my company,” she says. “I have been fortunate to meet lots of people at different stages of my journey and my mother has been with me every step of the way. I also believe that my team has carried me through all the tough times and now we are much stronger for it. They all understand the process and put in so much.”
When asked what advice she would give to young South Africans dreaming of the future, she says: “Get out of your own way, there are so many things to deal with, so don’t be your own enemy.”