Started with a dream and a little bit of rejection

Posted on May 9, 2014

My parents owned a gaming arcade which from after school hours, would always be filled with young scholars. They would constantly get complaints from the parents of the children in the community about the time spent there (by their children) instead of being at home, working on their homework. I saw an opportunity in this regard and began at least thinking about and researching into Educade: and educational arcade machine made of e-waste and recycled materials.

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Being such an evident social-entrepreneurship endeavor which challenged educational as well as environmental issues, I expected a lot more support than I initially gained in the early stages of the business. Various corporates and social impact organisations told me on occasions, that: “some ideas should stay ideas,” or rather, my favourite: “we don’t trust you with our money!” Of course given the time dedicated to research and proving the viability of the idea, hearing statements like those hurt. I was alone. I felt alone.

I began to teach myself. Being an engineering student at the University of Cape Town my knowledge of commercial rudiments was limited. I thoroughly looked into financial planning and accounting for my business plan; I attended various networking sessions with the purpose to learn and connect with industry players who could later become my mentors. Due to this, having the support of senior management of investment and banking institutions meant that the next time someone told me that “they didn’t trust me with their money,” I had a credible list of mentees who vouched for me.

regina kgatleI pre-programmed Educade to match the school curriculum, the machines help to build strong foundations in learning, using simple games and lessons to help learners to excel in all areas of life.The purpose behind this was to level the playing field of education for learners from different cultures. I am a girl from a village in North West. To get where I am I had to teach myself many lessons. I could only do this as a result of passion. In the same way, I have taken what children from my area are already passionate about (playing games) and used that to equip them with enhanced learning skills.

I am an example of the entrepreneurial story that started with intense rejection. But look where rejection has gotten me? Today, Educade has: allowed me to travel; to be named by various international media and organisations as a formidable young entrepreneur; and best of all, the company has given me the platform to educate.

It starts with a dream and a little bit of rejection,

Regina Kgatle