From trial to triumph, a story of resilience
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Mkwanazi comes from a South African farming family. With a background in project management and political science, Mkwanazi started off her career in communication and entrepreneurship through big firms and a local incubator.
However, she eventually found herself drawn back to her roots, especially her grandmother’s heirloom seeds which had been passed down in her family for generations. Mkwanazi began farming, quickly producing a surplus of organic spinach which she started selling to local preschools and homes for at-risk women.
Confronted with a lack of knowledge about organic farming from her community and having identified a viable market for her organic crops, Mkwanazi launched Nanloy Organic Farm.
Founder OF NANLOY ORGANIC FARM- SOUTH AFRICA
Mkwanazi is striving to alleviate poverty and enhance food security by reintroducing native African crops which are highly nutritious, better adapted to thrive in local environments, and result in higher yields.
Reflecting on her team, Nandi Mkwanazi notes that the students “have completely immersed themselves in the development of the company.”
“I can breathe again […] Not to mention getting to take my first day off in over five years. The program has superseded my expectations.”
“The students are doing an incredible job in achieving the KPIs… [and] have helped my company gain a lot of traction and growth.”
“I feel as if the students were tailor made for me.”
The Nanloy Organic Farm team
Neoma Business School - MBA (France)
Public Relations & Marketing
UC, San Diego - Undergrad (USA)
Amaury De Castelnau
Emylon Business School - MBA (France)
Insights into the H-Accelerator
A story of resilience
Mkwanazi’s path to spearheading a viable venture took resilience and courage. After losing access to her first plots of land, resulting in the loss of over 200 spinach plants, Mkwanazi was then forced to abandon her second plots when a dishonest landowner prohibited her from using organic fertilizer.
This difficult setback resulted in the loss of over five hectares of supplies and nearly all her savings. Nonetheless, she refused to give up, canvassing 40 neighboring farms, leaving a note at each with her request. By this time, Nandi’s family had dipped into their own savings, liquidating assets to support her venture.
Out of the 40 requests Nandi made, she was finally rewarded with one success: a local college agreed to lease her a plot of land which was covered with invasive trees. With her brother’s help, Mkwanazi cleared the entire plot, a process which took months, until she was able to begin planting a combination of spinach, amadumbe, cowpeas, red, green and multicolored amaranth, indigenous African pumpkins, and Mozambican sweet potato.
As they worked to clear the plot of land, Mkwanazi planted spinach in her family members’ gardens in an effort to preserve her existing contracts. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mkwanazi lost these clients as preschools closed – leaving her on the brink of bankruptcy. It was at this juncture in her journey that she was accepted into the H-Accelerator.