Nomfundo Mcoyi, ex-educator and now managing director of KwaZulu-Natal-based business – Icebolethu Group – was named the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® at the annual entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, held on 6 September 2017 in Johannesburg.
Established as a funeral parlour named Icebolethu Funerals in 2009, with a complement of just five staff members, the business has evolved into a prominent funeral services conglomerate with around 300 employees.
Today, the company consists of seven divisions offering an all-encompassing funeral service operating under the umbrella of Icebolethu Group and boasting 43 branches in and around KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a branch in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
Considering that the funeral business is a highly competitive industry, especially in the South African small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, Mcoyi stood out to the competition’s judging panel by managing to yield tremendous growth for her business by capitalising on the already ripe market and providing a customer-centric service, while still demonstrating dignity and care to her community. “Mcoyi truly understands the market and their needs, and this has provided her with a competitive advantage over many other small firms in the industry,” the judges add.
Discussing why she believes her business is worthy of this prestigious award, Mcoyi recalls her humble beginnings after taking the decision to quit her job as an educator and start her catering business, only to be left with nothing following her divorce in 2009. In order to provide for her children, she then started a small funeral parlour based in the township of Hammersdale, KwaZulu-Natal.
In less than a decade, she has grown this one small parlour into the network it is today. “This was done by offering more than just a funeral policy to our clients,” explains Mcoyi. “Unlike most other providers in the country, we grew Icebolethu Funerals into a one-stop-shop offering clients everything from funeral services, to catering and tombstones.”
Mcoyi also attributes her business’ success to its rigorous marketing and advertising strategy that is designed to tap in to the needs of the community. “Our unique branding, combined with consistently providing an excellent service offering, has resulted in us capturing a large portion of a highly competitive South African market,” Mcoyi added.
When asked about her future plans following winning the 2017 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title, Mcoyi says that she plans to expand her business further throughout South Africa, starting with Cape Town.
For more information on Icebolethu Group, please visit the website: icebolethugroup.co.za