March 10, 2021

Winning Bid Saves South African Company in Its Toughest Year

SOUTH AFRICA, 10 March 2021 — Just when CEO Nozipho Dube, feared her business would not make it past the end of 2020, she received the “amazing” news that EcoGift Protective Clothing had been awarded an order to supply 10,000 medical bags to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca South Africa.

Although she submitted a quote and samples in October 2020, things “went quiet” for a month, escalating Dube’s worry. “I had been holding material with suppliers who were starting to release it to other companies,” she said. “My anxiety was climbing as my business really needed this order to survive, after a tough 2020.”

But with the order to the rescue, Dube had the happy task of actually making 40,000 bags because EcoGift ‘s multi-pocketed medical bag for blood pressure machines was designed as four bags in one. The payment from this order also gave the business the funds to handle other customer orders as well.

“The negotiated deposit and payment terms gave us cash, a lifeline to my business,” she said. “As soon as we received the purchase order, my team of 20 worked through the festive season. We all understood how important this order was for us.”

The order was EcoGift’s first business with multinational AstraZeneca, who is producing one of the COVID-19 vaccines being used around the world. Dube is certain that being a certified women business enterprise of WEConnect International was one of the reasons EcoGift got a foot in the door. Moreover, she was able to negotiate early payment terms because the WEConnect International member buyer knew that her businesswas 100% black woman-owned. In addition, EcoGift earned a substantial grant from AstraZeneca for equipment needed–more sewing machines, ISO 9001:2015 re-certification (just as it was expiring), a factory upgrade and more staff members.

Nozipho and employees have started 2021 on a high note, back to making protective equipment, uniforms and fashion wear using sustainable fabrics. Ecogift continues to target oil, gas and mining companies, lobbying them to switch to eco-friendly fabrics and reduce the workwear clothing industry’s contribution to landfills.

“I believe that we are leading the charge in the industry,” Dube says.

And since founding the company at the age of 50, she has built a team that’s as passionate as she is. The “Rise to the Challenge” team has received many accolades, including

  • Winner of the Black Umbrellas 2018 award in the most jobs created category
  • Listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 50 Black South African Entrepreneurs to Watch”
  • Recognition as the “Most Promising Sustainable Start-Up” by Tropics Magazine’s Changemakers Awards 2018.

#Rise2theChallenge #IWD2021

If you’re in need of protective clothing, uniforms and/or corporate wear for your business, and want a sustainable and eco-friendly fabric, please do reach out to this amazing team on www.ecogift.co.za