Nyasha Gwatidzo was born in a rural village in Zimbabwe and came over to the UK in the 1970’s. Nyasha finished her ‘A’ levels and gained a degree in Chemistry from Lambeth Women in Mind and then enrolled to do a PhD at Imperial College, London. Realising solid chemistry wasn’t her passion she enrolled and completed Gestalt Therapy and Contribution Training at Pellin Institute and 5 years later gained an MA in Therapeutic Childcare from Reading University so she could work with adults and children with emotional issues. Nyasha is a qualified psychotherapist, social worker, coach and mentor.
As a black African woman, Nyasha faced discrimination throughout her journey but with sheer determination and passion she developed a successful social enterprise. Nyasha is a distinguished businesswoman, social entrepreneur and philanthropist who has, over a 30 year career, launched and built successful multi-million pound businesses and social enterprises in the United Kingdom, generating a cumulative $130 million turnover.
With a strong interest in social impact investment, solid business acumen and extensive knowledge of Southern African countries, Nyasha is a formidable business force specialising in social impact start-ups and helping them achieve rapid, profitable and sustainable growth. Her vision for the future is to make global connections and to mentor social entrepreneurs through a social impact investment fund, which will help people, especially women, to reach economic independence through enterprise.
Nyasha’s pioneering fostering social enterprise Banya Family Placement Agency has placed 4,000 children with UK foster parents since 1997.
Nyasha’s philanthropic work started in the year 2000 at her grandmother’s former school St David’s, Nyandoro, Zimbabwe, where she sponsored children affected and orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Her charity, Vana Trust, supports education with fees, uniforms, books, shoes and building improvements and has helped over 1,200 children in Zimbabwe. Nyasha plans to increase her work in Africa, helping more schools and young people in their quest for wellbeing and independence. At the Vana Trust farm in Buckinghamshire, UK, opportunities are provided for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues to work on the farm, to grow organic fruit and vegetables and to help look after the animals. Nyasha mentors business women and men, through her Walk With Me programmes to guide people towards kickstarting (and upscaling) their own social enterprise.
Nyasha wrote a book in 2015 after walking the length of the River Thames (206 miles) Walk with Me through 16 Inspirational Business and Life Tips. This was then followed with a 140 mile walk across Zimbabwe in June 2017 and more recently completed the Stepping Stones 114 mile walk through the Channel Islands over the course of 10 days in June this year, raising funds and awareness for the charity Vana Trust. Nyasha is now in the process of writing her latest book I’m Not Just A Foster Carer.
Over Nyasha’s lifetime her achievements have gained widespread recognition winning numerous prestigious business awards, including the European Federation Black Women Business Leader, Business Woman of the Year, Best Social Enterprise of the Year and in 2018 from the South African Chamber of commerce UK, Business and Community Awards, Micro Business Award – Southern Africa.
Nyasha lives in Guernsey. She has a husband Paul, three adult children and one grandson. Her interests include children, African politics, social entrepreneurship, walking, travel and knitting. She is fluent in English and Shona languages.