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Standard Bank KZN Top Business Awards Nominees - Nominee: Portio Dlamini

Category: Entrepreneur Resilience

Nkosithandile Portio Dlamini was born at Stoffelton, Impendle, which is a village located a 100km from Pietermaritzburg. Portio was raised by a single mother of three and spent most of her childhood at the farm with her grandparents while her mother was studying and teaching. After completing her primary school education, Portio went to the nearest boarding school, Pholela High School in Bulwer, where she completed her matric. Portio studied chemical process engineering at Mangosuthu and Durban University of Technology respectively and obtained a BTech in chemical engineering. She then worked for a few companies, for approximately 11 years, including Sappi and Sasol as a process technician, and later moved to Unilever to work as a chemical process engineer and a production unit manager.

During this time, she felt unsatisfied with the work that she was doing. “I felt that I should be in an environment where I was empowering or making a difference in people’s lives, rather than working mainly with processes and machinery,” commented Portio.

Establishing her own business was not easy and Portio had to face a number of challenges as well as fears. “One of the major challenges that I faced was the lack of understanding and skills in how to run a business. I was from an environment where I was an employee and more technical. When you are starting out, you need to understand every department of your organisation – marketing, financial, HR etc.” “The second challenge was that I had a lot of fears – stepping out of my comfort zone to go into such a risky venture including leaving a secure job was one of them. But I was now choosing to step into something bigger than myself.”

Emakheni Cleaning & Industrial Solutions is a Level 1, 100% female owned business that has now been trading for nine years. The company’s focus is on the industrial and commercial sectors providing contract cleaning, hygiene solutions and garden maintenance as well as specialised cleaning – high pressure and high-level cleaning – for factories.


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