Cosmetics brand developer, Nomahlubi Nazo, credits a former employer’s decision not to grant her leave as one of the propellants that pushed her closer to her dream of running her own business.
SAnews.gov.za reports that Nazo entered her dormant company into a competition and won, so quit her job. A month later, the 37-year-old divorced mother of two received a bursary to study Cosmetic Formulation Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
While studying at UCT, she obtained an internship at Indigo Brands, formerly known as Yardley of London, at their research and product development lab. During the course of her internship, the cosmetic formulation scientist ensured that she absorbed as much knowledge as she could before fully committing to her business in 2018.
She won most of the competitions in which she entered her company, Foi Science, and in the same year, she was named the FemBioBiz Pitching Den winner in the student category, walking away with lab equipment from Merck.
Nazo also scooped the SA Innovation Summit award, winning R70,000 from the SAB Foundation. The winnings have helped her to buy containers and raw material to develop cosmetics brands.
Her company converts fish scale waste into collagen to make hydrogels for burns, scars, slow-healing wounds and ulcers. She also ventured into customised skincare solutions for customers to make ends meet. Her skin, wound and hair care products will be hitting online shelves soon, to be sold locally as well as abroad.
In addition, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), which is an entity of the Department of Science, and Innovation, has been funding Nazo’s business for the past two years.
“So now I can register a patent and do a clinical trial for the wound care gels that I designed using biopolymer,” says Nazo.
Today, Foi Science provides much-needed jobs to many other women in Nazo’s community.
“I started training unemployed women and youth on how to make soaps and lotions, and convert agricultural waste into activated charcoal to make face masks, soaps, tooth whitening powders, air purifiers and pet care products so we can raise funds for the start-up,” she says.
The scientist is preparing to distribute her goods in Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Kenya. (Source: SAnews.gov.za)