Nomfundo Mcoyi named medium-sized business Entrepreneur of the Year

KwaZuluNatal-based entrepreneur and owner of funeral services group Icebolethu Group, Nomfundo Mcoyi, has been crowned the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year in the medium-sized business category

Having started the business as a funeral parlour with only five employees eight years ago, Mcoyi has expanded her enterprise into seven divisions to turn it into a one-stop funeral services shop, offering tombstone services, event catering, floral bouquets and funeral policies.

Today, the business employs around 300 people, with 43 branches in and around KwaZulu-Natal as well as a branch in the UK.

“I was motivated by the need for a reputable funeral service provider that caters for all and started Icebolethu Funerals, a funeral parlour, with a group of five people. Through hard work, dedication and ambition, Icebolethu is now a well established business and continues to operate as the backbone of the group,” she says.

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Mcoyi was among the five category winners announced at this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards ceremony held in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Sizwe Nzima and Siraaj Adams (both corr) – co-founders of Iyeza Health, a medical courier service that delivers chronic medication to patients in the township in Cape Town – were named emerging entrepreneur(s) of the year.

Itumeleng Phake, founder of low-cost gym group Zenzele Fitness Group, won the small business Entrepreneur of the Year award, while Siphiwe Ngcobo, founder of Ilgwu Hospitality Group and who has developed and manages B&Bs and lodges in townships around KwaZulu-Natal – scooped the Job Creator of the Year award.

Pimp My Book founder Mpodumo Doubada bagged the Innovator of the Year honours for his growing chain of campus stores that buy and sell used textbooks, making pricey textbooks more accessible to and affordable for students.

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Each of the five category winners walked away with R60 000, while the overall title of Entrepreneur of the Year went to Willem van der Merwe, owner of Africa Biomass Company, who transformed his tree-felling company into a land-clearing and waste wood recycling operation.

Van der Merwe received an overall prize of R160 000.

“Through the establishment of Africa Biomass Company which specialises in land clearing, wood chipping and wood recycling, Willem has not only created a successful business by clearing landowners’ unwanted tress, he has also shaped a new industry in South Africa by introducing the novel concept of wood recycling,” says competition spokesman Christo Botes.