Terrence is the co-founder and Managing Director of Educate, an education access and people improvement company. He is the founder of Mission Critical a nonprofit that tells stories that change lives. Terrence is an alumnus of Rhodes University and an Andrew Mellon scholar for academic excellence. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Science and a Master of Commerce Degree in Financial Markets – both attained with distinction (cum laude).
He is a member of the South African Institute of Financial Markets, an alumnus of the Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp & the Ashoka Changemaker Xchange. In 2017, he was recognised by Ashoka Africa as a youth champion for his work in education and youth engagement. In 2018 following an invitation from the US Department of state he became an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program Social Entrepreneurship Track.
He is a supporter of entrepreneurship and runs a monthly Pitch Night event in Bulawayo. Terrence is a facilitator of Beyond Success Roundtable discussions and the Global Leadership Summit, he is the convener of Feed the City a monthly feeding drive that provides meals to people in need. His latest adventure is helping people win with money through his financial literacy education programs – poverty proof, winning the game & wealth collector.
We Educate + We Feed + We Nurture + We Open Doors = We Fund the Future
His greatest achievements in life are being a kingdom citizen, getting married to Julian and being a father.
A conversation with Terrence
Terrence described entrepreneurship as something you can be born with and can also be nurtured from being taught by the people around and the environment we live in. He himself is a product of his environment and experiences.
“My inspirations for entrepreneurship can be tracked back to university” said Terrence in the conversation. “The available jobs were not adequate enough to meet our expenses” he added on.
Like in almost every boy’s story, his mother played a significant role in helping him realise the entrepreneurship in him. He used to assist his mother with stock taking, and in the process enjoyed speaking to employees finding the problems they were facing and asking himself how he could solve them.
Working and spending more time with his mother gave birth to the thought that Terrence could enjoy entrepreneurship, and now he must be enjoying.
Terrence draws his inspiration of starting Educate from the challenges he faced in University. “I had a painful experience in university, I almost lost a university place,” said Terrence. According to the conversation, Terrence’s worst experience was negotiating for a university place in foreign land, South Africa. He had to go through a lot of struggle, and those struggles are what made him say to himself, “When I get a chance, I’m going to make difference.”
That difference is what Educate is there to make. “Essentially Educate is there to give people access to education and show them the possibilities that are waiting for them out there,” said Terrence in the conversation. Seeing fellow university colleagues pursuing degrees not aligned with their purpose, pained Terrence a lot and Educate is there to give people information that can help them make better educational decisions.
What influenced your decision to start-up in Bulawayo?
My field of study made me very stingy. I did a financial model with my friend and the financial model revealed to me that I would not survive two months in Harare. Fortunately I had previously worked in Bulawayo so I had an understanding of the rental environment. So it was a decision mainly influenced by cost and hoping that the environment would accept us there.
In Terrence’s start-up journey, his budget had to make decisions for him. Based on a financial model he did with a friend, they were left with no option than to start in Bulawayo since the model highlighted that they could not survive for two months in when doing Business in Harare.
The transition from a stable job to the turbulent world of entrepreneurship forced Terrence to adapt.
“We did not have much money and decided to go and stay with my wife’s parents in Bulawayo, which was taboo but it just mattered that much to start,” Terrence said.
This revealed to him the value of having an amazing wife and people who believe in the dream. Along the way he struggled a lot.
“They were times I did not know where the next meal was coming from” eluded Terrence.
However, Terrence described the struggles he faced in starting up as a difficult transition that has made an amazing journey. He became so much closer to his encourager, who always reminded him in times of almost giving up that the vision was much bigger than them.
Terrence concluded on this aspect saying things were getting better, and they now own their own place.
What impact do you think Educate has had on the communities you serve?
We genuinely love people, we have had so many messages where people would send us pictures of them with graduation and saying thank you guys, you made this possible. We have had schools that have been able to avoid certain mishaps because we have been there for them financially.
One of my favorite experiences is, one of our clients’ daughters fell ill and she needed to get a hospital bill sorted out and get into the hospital as soon as possible. Our business is not to get money, our business is to share hope, so we wrote the doctor a letter and said we were going to pay the bill and the doctor said ok. I could tell the mum was frazzled, her daughter needed this emergency operation. I drove her car for her and dropped the daughter at the hospital and left her preparing for an operation, and up to now we are still friends. That is the impact that we believe in, building friends and building community.
Educate has also impacted communities they serve in. They have so far received many messages with graduation pictures, graduates testifying that it was all possible because of Educate.
Educate have helped schools avoid certain mishaps because it was there for them financially.
At one point, Educate went out of its objective to assist in a medication bill payment because what matters most to them is sharing hope. “This is the impact that we believe in, building friends and building communities” he said.
Terrence also facilitates a number of initiatives aimed at assisting communities:
- Feed the City initiative
Feed the City is a community event where people from different back grounds are brought together with the mission to prepare and deliver meals for people in need.
“It has been amazing, over a year we have been seeing people progress and it has become this amazing event where volunteers from all ages and races come together because we genuinely care,” Terrence said. “People have amazing hearts and it’s about creating a people driven social welfare system where we make doing good profitable” concluded Terrence.
- Pitch Night
With Pitch Night, it is all about getting an entrepreneurs’ idea showcased.
“How many people have ideas, and what does it take for your idea to be listened to, by people who can do something about it? How much do you need to pay?” asked Terrence.
Pitch Night gives people a free platform to share their ideas. You never know who is in the room; it could be their next partner or a potential investor.
“When I moved to Bulawayo, I talked to the founders who have been very supportive, and we launched the program in Bulawayo. Last Friday or Thursday of every month, Entrepreneurs come and share their ideas in a room full of people. People ask questions, they get advice and hopefully we will have a lot more successful story to share in the years to come” elaborated Terrence.
The bigger picture of every initiative facilitated by Terrence is to create collaborative communities. “I have a wonderful belief that we can do so much more together, leveraging our individual gifts and our differences, this I strongly hope will become true one day.”
“We just have to find ourselves and be willing to collaborate” said Terrence.
“I know it’s tough right now but I genuinely think that we can make Zimbabwe a place where people would love to live in.” concluded Terrence.
Being a husband, father and entrepreneur has made Terrence realise that there is no balance in it, since then he has tried to stop to pursue the balance. However, in the conversation, Terrence appreciated that he has begun to cherish every moment he gets with his wife and kids.
“I do my best to show that my family means a lot and mean the world to me, for the time I spend with them” said Terrence.
He continued, “when I’m at business, I do my best to make sure that the team is empowered so that they always remember that they have influence in bringing the change we want to make.”
Hustling has in the past been Terrence’s lifestyle. He used to sell movie CDs, clothes, women’s shoes and did internet connections. Anything that he could get his hands on, he did his best to sell. He also failed at so many things however, he kept on going. His wife also played such an amazing role when she was in Holland. She would send Terrence tea and that is how he got the nick name “Tea Street” as he was selling tea on the streets.