From student to supplier: DUT student manufactures hand sanitisers for campus Covid teams
By Se-Anne Rall 19m ago
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DURBAN – A GLENMORE Master’s student is now manufacturing and supplying his own university with hand sanitisers.
Ntokozo Mabaso, who graduated with a BTech in Analytical Chemistry in 2014, went on to form his company, Nuffsaid Sciences (Pty) Ltd in 2018 after he struggled to find a job.
Mabaso's company specialises in consulting, operates as a mobile laboratory and does product testing, validation, research and development.
After hearing that DUT had stopped the manufacturing of sanitisers, Mabaso met with the university's Chemistry Department’s Professor Phumlane Mdluli and asked if he could produce the sanitisers for them.
He was granted permission and used the Abdul Hameed building at ML Sultan Campus to produce the sanitisers, which are supplied to the DUT Covid-19 Task Team – an ongoing initiative to curb the spread of Covid-19 at the university.
Mabaso said he started manufacturing the sanitisers at home and used their family garage last year after he heard reports that many stores were running out of sanitisers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic hit the country by storm. When sanitisers started running out of stores, I asked my dad who was once at DUT, to assist me to come up with formulations for the sanitiser. We worked on the formulations together and I started selling to the public. I then approached Prof Mdluli to supply DUT with the hand and surface sanitisers.
“Since DUT wanted a larger scale, then we agreed on creating a mini production reactor with a production capacity of 200 litres. It has been an interesting journey, especially after realising that our formulations meet the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO). The sanitiser is very effective as it contains 70-75% ethanol," Mabaso said.
He said they are looking to up-scale and market the sanitiser to different colleges and universities.
His plans are to grow his business by also manufacturing household cleaning products such as bleach, dish-washing and hand soaps. Mabaso said he fell in love with science when he was studying towards his National Diploma in Chemistry at DUT, which he obtained in 2012.
To be listed among the best in the science field, Mabaso then decided to further his studies by completing his BTech and he is now in his final stage of his Master’s degree at DUT. He has also registered with the DUT Entrepreneurial Desk, which has been providing him with guidance and support in his entrepreneurial journey.
Prof Mdluli has applauded Mabaso for initiating this project, stating that it has encouraged the open-minded nature of becoming an entrepreneur with the skills that have been developed through learning as a student.