Building a Green Economy by Converting Cooking Oil into Biodiesel

Meet Magalie Yacinthe, an entrepreneur and CEO at SO-IN Forsyth, a “socially innovative oil company that is building community equity through sustainability”. 

As a conscious entrepreneur and responsible community leader, Magalie Yacinthe is doing every bit to save the environment. She is constantly working towards her goal of keeping the community happy, healthy, and alive. Her Winston-Salem based company helps reduce pollution by promoting the usage of biodiesel. 

Magalie had a humble upbringing, and she attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She worked in the corporate sector for over 4 years and eventually quit as she wasn’t happy with the job. Now, she is the owner of SO-IN Forsyth and interim executive director and board chair of HUSTLE Winston-Salem. 

SO-IN stands for Social Innovation Oil Company. They take the used cooking oil from the restaurants, clean the oil, and convert it into ‘biodiesel’. This biodiesel works as fuel in school buses. As per the company, right now school buses burn 5% biodiesel. Magalie and her team’s goal is to increase this usage by up to 20%.

Magalie noted that due to the pollution caused by these buses, most asthmatic children stay at home. A study revealed that black children are affected by it the worst. The negative impact it has on the black community got her to find a solution. To help these children, starting So-IN Forsyth became more than a business for her. Not only this, the company serves the community by indulging in environmentally friendly practices, school system donations, and creating job opportunities for the youth. They are building a network of small and hyper-local green business owners to recycle the used cooking oil better.  

Before SO-IN Forsyth, Magalie started YES Strategies & Solutions over seven years ago. It is a cost-effective event consulting firm for non-profit organizations that don’t have the capital to pay the big firms for successful programming and their missions. She always comes up with out of the box ideas that help in community growth. 

Magalie is a proud black woman and reveals that she has faced a lot of racism and sexism in her life. No matter how progressive the world gets, a black woman trying to run a business is never encouraged as much. But this never deterred her spirits as she was working for the greater good of the community. 

The present challenge she faces is that due to the late entry, larger companies overshadow them and local businesses are hesitant to switch to them. COVID posed a bigger problem in business growth. Also, the company has received a mixed response from the community. “On one hand, we have strong community support for the social aspect of what our business represents. On the other hand, we aren’t seeing the same enthusiasm when it comes to sales”, she says.

Magalie believes that “Mediocrity as a standard is unacceptable”. She strives to give her best and never gives in the face of adversity, come what may. Her business is more of a responsibility as there are lives at stake. We as a community need to realize the dangerous impact of pollution and climate change. Her motivation behind So-IN was to “create a local bio-economy with a circular model that benefits all people“. It now improves the carbon footprint of the community and reduces overall carbon emissions.

Looking back at the journey all these years, she says, “We are where we are because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Therefore, we have a reciprocal responsibility to live our lives so that others may someday stand on ours”.