Nomfundo Mcoyi left her profession as a teacher to venture into business. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Icebolethu Funeral Group in KwaZulu-Natal, which creates employment for over 300 people.

She was also crowned the 2017 Sanlam/Business Partners Mediumsized Business Entrepreneur of the Year.

STARTING UP HER BUSINESS

Nomfundo lost everything to her first husband following their divorce in 2009. She had to start her life from scratch. In that moment of need and despair, Icebolethu Funeral Group was born. She ran the business from a property in Hammarsdale, which also served as her home.

“I saw a gap in the funeral industry and started Icebolethu in order to give clients a one-stop shop service when they have funerals,” Nomfundo explains.

Venturing into the funeral business was not an easy task for Nomfundo as she faced a lot of criticism and resistance from other people who have been in the industry for a long time.

“I faced a lot of resistance from older role players in the industry, saying I will get tired of offering the services I did. They thought they knew exactly what clients required and that I was misled in thinking that I would succeed,” she explains.

MAKING IT WORK

Even though she started the business without a loan or any financial assistance, Icebolethu Funeral Group has now grown so much.

“I started expanding Icebolethu in my second year of business, although serious expansion took place in my fourth year,” she says. Nomfundo’s business offers a variety of services like funeral policies, tombstones, event catering and floral bouquets for South Africans and clients from as far as the United Kingdom. Her company now has over 300 employees. Even though she is the brains behind the company, Nomfundo feels that her team has also played a vital role in what Icebolethu is today.

“God has blessed me with a very dedicated team, which understands my vision. I couldn’t have done it on my own. It took teamwork and dedication to get where we are today,” she shares.

THE SECRET BEHIND HER SUCCESS

Icebolethu Funeral Group is one of the most successful businesses in the South African funeral services sector. Nomfundo says the secret behind the success of her business is seeking business knowledge to grow as an individual.

“I attend a lot of exhibitions where I network and also do research on products and services,” she explains. “I also serve under the South African Funeral Practitioners Association, where I am also the chairperson. I do a lot of networking and I am concentrating on growing my business,” says Nomfundo. Besides being the leader of Icebolethu Funeral Group and Icebolethu Foundation, she is also a mother, a role she thoroughly enjoys.