Mar 2024 Special edition

Mdlaka capitalises on child’s play

Written by Sihle Manda

When Yolanda Mdlaka installed eye-catching jungle gyms for her new pre-school in the Eastern Cape in 2015, she opened the floodgates of enquiring admirers who wished the same for their facilities.

Instead of being the middle person of the enquirers to the supplier, the 38-year-old pounced on a business opportunity to make the climbing frames. And with that, Enzo Jungle Gyms was born.

At the time, Mdlaka worked as a sales administrator for an information technology company in Midrand, Gauteng.

“At that time I was still employed, so I was doing it part-time. I formally registered the business in 2020 and I resigned from my work because I could see that there was a demand,” she said.

When she started the pre-school, she transported the equipment back to the Eastern Cape.

“People and other pre-schools around the area saw my pre-school looking beautiful and they started to enquire about where and how I was getting the jungle gyms,” she told Vuk’uzenzele in a recent interview.

With no welding skills to rely on, she approached welders she knew to set the wheels in motion. 

“I asked them if they could duplicate the jungle gyms I showed them and the

y said yes. The first jungle gym was built and the rest is history,” she said. 

Initially, Mdlaka purchased a container to operate from on an open field in Olievenhoutbosch, in Centurion. But due to security concerns and business booming, Enzo moved to its current local in a factory in Midrand.

With the business retaining its interest from pre-schools in the Eastern Cape, demand in Gauteng was for household jungle gyms.

“This was all mainly during COVID-19, as kids were not going to school, not going to parks. Business took off. When it took off, it needed me to come in and start doing deliveries myself as I didn’t have a driver,” she said.

Enzo a formal business

Confident of the start-up’s prospects, she quit her day job. Now fully focused on the venture, which was mainly self-funded by her savings and her less than R100 000 provident fund, she registered Enzo as a formal business.

It was not until 2023 that she approached the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) for funding.

The business, which has 12 permanent employees, had its calls answered in the form of much-needed equipment, valued at R600 000.

Mdlaka was also offered the opportunity to be part of Seda’s Enterprise Coaching Programme. The programme brings together groups of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) owners under the guidance and leadership of professional coaches for an extended period to develop and enhance their management competencies.

Through the Seda Technology Transfer Assistance (TTA) programme, Seda purchased a steel bender and a load-shedding proof generator.

The TTA programme focuses on manufacturing and supporting SMMEs with equipment and machinery to enhance product innovation and scalability.

For more information on Enzo Jungle Gyms, contact Mdlaka on 072 427 9882 or visit
For more information on Seda, call: 0860 663 7867, visit: or email:

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