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.

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