Nyasha Gwatidzo, a Zimbabwe-born social entrepreneur based in Guernsey, has turned her passion for helping émigré African children in the UK into a fulfilling and lucrative business. Her inspiring journey has led her to launch a $1 billion investment fund to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.
Nyasha Gwatidzo A UK-based multimillionaire Zimbabwean millionaire
Nyasha Gwatidzo’s life as a social care entrepreneur has been extraordinary. It all started in 1992 when she received an £800 ($1000) redundancy payment. With unwavering determination, she transformed this sum into a thriving business with an impressive annual turnover of £150 million ($116 million) today. Her organization, Banya, has provided care and support to thousands of vulnerable and traumatized children in Africa and the United Kingdom, making a profound impact on society and generating millions in revenue each year.
Nyasha Gwatidzo’s journey is rooted in her experiences growing up in the shadow of the struggle against white minority rule in Zimbabwe. Her father, Basil, played a significant role in helping Robert Mugabe escape to Mozambique in 1975. Her mother, Lucy, returned from England to campaign for Mugabe’s ZANU party in Zimbabwe’s first free election in 1980, enduring great risks and hardships. Nyasha’s early exposure to such events shaped her dedication to caring for children, as she felt a profound responsibility towards them.
After being made redundant in 1992, Nyasha Gwatidzo’s dream of establishing a private therapeutic home began to take shape. Recognizing the growing need for care facilities for children in difficulty, especially those coming from conflict zones in Africa, she set out to provide a safe haven for them. Securing a £1000 community loan in addition to her redundancy payment, she embarked on a challenging journey to find suitable premises in London.
Finding a location was no easy task, but Nyasha’s perseverance led her to Herne Hill, where a generous vicar provided her with a three-month grace period on rent. In July, six children found solace in their new home. However, the next challenge awaited – assembling a team of trained therapists to care for the children around the clock. Despite financial strains and having to compromise some of her principles, Nyasha pushed forward. Local authority contracts started coming in, and by December, the business was turning over a million pounds.
Nyasha Gwatidzo’s devotion to the children she cared for is evident in her lasting impact on their lives. One heartwarming example involved three brothers who escaped the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict and found a foster home at Nyasha’s own house. Nine months later, their mother reunited with them and took them back home. While it was a joyous outcome for the children, Nyasha couldn’t help but feel a sense of longing for them.
In 1994, Nyasha launched the Banya Family Placement agency, which focuses on placing children in foster homes. In 2003, she established the Vana Trust, providing educational and training support to thousands of children in the UK and Zimbabwe. The Trust also runs a farm in Oxfordshire, where children find therapy in caring for animals. Always looking to the future, Nyasha Gwatidzo is now taking on a new challenge – supporting women entrepreneurs in Africa through a $1 billion investment fund.
Nyasha’s latest initiative is to launch a $1 billion investment fund dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in Africa. Despite facing challenges as a black woman asking for investments in Africa, she remains undeterred. She firmly believes that the impact of empowering one woman in Africa reaches far beyond just her, benefiting 20-30 people in the process. More than 10,000 women have already expressed interest in the fund before its official launch.
Nyasha Gwatidzo’s journey is a testament to the power of determination, passion, and unwavering commitment to a noble cause. From a modest redundancy payment to a multi-million-dollar enterprise, her impact on society and the lives of countless children is truly remarkable. As she continues to champion the cause of women entrepreneurs in Africa, her legacy of positive change will undoubtedly endure for generations to come.
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