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Gregory's story on... emotional resilience

“I’ve known since I was young that I am a bit of a rebel, I don't do well with rules, but when I am leading the dance, I am all in.  I realised I was destined for entrepreneurship.”

Gregory's entrepreneurial journey is part of a much bigger and more personal journey.  In his early years as an Industrial Engineering student he was described as being an extremely talented academic, but also one who was easily distracted, not quite reaching his full potential.  His profound entry into entrepreneurship was sparked by the sad loss of the most inspiring person in his life, his father, who in his last moments expressed his only desire was for his son to find success. 

“This loss shattered my entire world.  When I put the pieces back together, I started to think really deeply about what I wanted in life.  When I am at the end and I am reflecting back, what am I going to be okay with in terms of life choices and tradeoffs I have made.  If we are all destined to die anyway, why not find something that really excites you, something that gets you up in the morning, something that when you reflect back you can say you lived your dream.”

Gregory began reading, journaling, meditating, and studying success: what it is and how one gets there.  Captured by the notion of auto suggestion, looking forty years ahead at what he wanted, then thirty years, and so on, breaking up what success meant to him in timeous incremental milestones. His end goal was not just about achieving financial freedom but to create an impact on this world that will outlive him.  He understood there were steps to get there and he furthered his understanding of what this would entail, from the notion of ‘deep work’, to waking up at 5am and implementing a full schedule, and putting in a lot of work with what he had at his disposal: his exposure to Industrial Psychology.  Like a typical bell curve, he knew that there was a lot of competition in the middle ground, but if he was the very best at doing something more unique, he would have less competition and more chances of success. 

“I worked smart, and hard. It wasn't easy, there were many holidays, birthdays and early mornings I didn't feel like working but I kept on pushing”

Gregory went on to complete his degree as one of the top performers in the school of engineering with full distinction and honorary colours.  He worked at an AI EduTech company to complete his practical component of his studies, and realised that the tech industry is was his calling.  Exposed in his next job to platform business models and blockchain technology - he became fascinated with blockchain technology and how it can be used to solve real societal issues.  He adopted the mindset of approaching work as an employee as if it were HIS company, serving up the same energy and commitment it would take if HE were the Founder.  Gregory was afforded the opportunity to pursue his dream in this field after receiving an unexpected offer from the first university on the African continent to offer a specialisation in its MPhil degree that is specifically designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector, the core focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology within the context of financial services.  He would go on to redefine micro-credit accessibility through innovative financial solutions. 

“In my youth I was exposed to the township economy and learnt to speak Zulu fluently.  I was conscious about the constant need to borrow small amounts of money and loan sharks being the only outlet available to fulfil this need and its detrimental effect on those who use them.”

Gregory was in a unique position to provide a market-fit solution, having been exposed to blockchain technology and the credit needs of the underserved. Building the very first prototype during a summer school in Zurich along with international counterparts, putting this forward and winning a hackathon, allowed him entry into an incubation program - his business was lit!  Today the business is deeply committed to addressing the critical issue of microcredit accessibility for marginalised communities burdened by the high fees charged by informal lenders. Their mission is to provide accessible and affordable microcredit solutions, extending a lifeline to those compelled to resort to informal credit sources out of sheer necessity. Gregory stands out through his innovative approach to financial inclusion, positioning the company as a catalyst for transformative change in the microcredit landscape.  

Each day Gregory is getting closer to his vision and to that moment in life when he can look back with a smile knowing that he IS living his very own dream. Success is in the doing! He imparts some advice for those looking to live their entrepreneurial dreams: 

“Talk about your vision. Constantly put yourself in the arena, pitching, open to criticism and building emotional resilience.  All the discussions, conversations and interactions are constantly guiding your venture in the right direction.”  

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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