ELEGANT AND ENERGETIC
Award- winner Nelly Shezi shares the secrets of her success
FOR Nelly Shezi, the MD of Elegant Line Chemicals, winning the Broadbased Black Economic Empowerment ( B- BBEE) award at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( DCCI)/ Transnet Port Terminals ( TPT) KZN Exporter of the Year 2012 on Wednesday night confirmed that a gamble to start her own business has paid off.
Shezi told The Witness yesterday that she used money from her provident fund to start the Pinetown- based business in January 2007.
Elegant Line Chemicals produces and distributes domestic and industrial commodity chemicals, lubricants for the auto industry, personal care products and water treatment solutions.
The company now also boasts an office in Johannesburg and a warehouse in the Eastern Cape, and exports to a number of southern African countries.
“When I started, it was just me and a receptionist for 18 months. It was tough, even just to pay the rent,” she said.
However, a decision to export as a means of achieving growth has begun to pay off.
“This award shows that we are moving in the right direction. Our expansion strategy is paying off. We decided to export in order to expand … and we are now contributing positive- ly to the South African economy.”
Shezi, who was born in KwaMashu, has a background in chemistry. She holds a bachelor of technology degree in analytical chemistry, as well as a diploma in marketing and accounting.
Prior to establishing Elegant Line Chemicals, she spent four years as a senior chemist in a firm in KZN, and a further four years in marketing at another firm in KZN.
However, in 2007, Shezi decided to start her own business.
“Sometimes in life, you realise there is a time for everything. It was good for me to work to get that experience, but I needed to follow my heart. I also looked at the challenges the country was facing in terms of jobs. I believed that with what I’ve gained in those eight years, I could contribute to the country.”
Elegant Line Chemicals employs 16 people, as well as a further 20 temporary staff.
In addition, Shezi is passionate about mentorship.
Her company, together with the University of Chicago, has enabled 20 young undergraduates to work on a recycling project, as part of Elegant Line Chemicals’ research and development division.
“The recycling project deals with the industrial and consumer markets. They are currently working on recycling used- hydraulic oil and cooking oil,” Shezi said.
Nelly Shezi ( left) of Elegant Line Chemicals received the Broad- based Black Economic Empowerment ( BBBEE) award at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( DCCI)/ Transnet Port Terminals ( TPT) KZN Exporter of the Year 2012 awards in Durban on Wednesday night. She is pictured with the CEO of Transnet Port Terminals, Karl Socikwa.