Global Entrepreneurs Week 2022 Interview with Terence Naidu
This Global Entrepreneurship Week we spoke to Terrence Naidu, founder and managing director of Envisionit Group of Companies. Terrence is known and celebrated for his innovative and impactful tech start-ups and shared his journey to success with us.
Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit? / What motivates you? What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Having grown up in apartheid South Africa the odds of success were always stacked against people of my colour. So, to succeed, you always had to think differently, back yourself for success and create an edge that set you apart from your peers. I guess you could say that my mindset was the advantage I created for myself, ironically, thanks to my disadvantage.
I’m motivated by creating positive impact in whatever I do and leaving the world in a better place than when I arrived on it.
Where did the idea of your business derive from?
I’m the founder of Truzo:
It literally pained me to watch the countless scams on Carte Blanche every Sunday night. I knew I couldn’t just sit back and accept the status quo so I established Truzo.
Derived from the words Trust and Zone, Truzo is a personal or business Trust Zone when buying or selling products and services. Aimed at solving the endless scams buyers face and the constant late payments encountered by sellers, as an independent digital escrow payment platform that ensures buyers get what they’ve paid for, and sellers get paid on delivery. Truzo helps grow the South African economy one safe and secure transaction at a time. No more scams, no more late payments.
I’m also the co-founder of Envisionit Deep AI:
When I realised that there are 500 million people under the age of 15 in Africa with only 20 paediatric radiologists across the continent and it takes 14 years to qualify as a paediatric radiologist, I knew something had to be done to provide adequate diagnostic healthcare to our youth. Envisionit Deep AI uses artificial intelligence to recognise patterns in medical imaging assisting doctors diagnose faster.
What’s your greatest entrepreneurial achievement to be proud of?
Wow, there really have been many awards and successes to be proud of but two stand out:
Having launched the first independent black owned and managed securities lending business as a joint venture with Sanlam in 2014. It was an industry dominated by the large banks and something that had never been done before. It was ground-breaking at the time and certainly spurred significant transformation in the sector which I’m [TN1] super happy to see.
The second is incredibly close to my heart. Irrespective of the business, if I’m involved, it must always have a strong purpose to re-invest into the countries in which we operate. My entrepreneurial journey and the success of my various businesses enabled me to establish the Envisionit Bursary Foundation in 2011.
To date we have sponsored over 35 graduates through their tertiary education, established online maths and reading classes that currently benefit over 1,200 students with early childhood education, and launched the Envisionit Prize that awarded over R500 000 in prizes to Grade 9 & 10 public school students that innovated water harvesting devices during the drought Cape Town faced.
I’m proud of everything each of my businesses have achieved but this must be the one that makes my heart smile.
If you could pick one thing that could make the biggest positive impact on your business, what would it be, what would you wish for?
Government adoption and support. Both Truzo and Envisionit Deep AI could potentially solve some glaring challenges faced by government. Government speaks of 4IR and the adoption of technology, but wouldn’t it be great to see these words converted to action?
Truzo would ensure procurement fraud in government will be drastically reduced. You’d never have a case where SAA pays for fuel and no fuel is delivered. This is because Truzo holds the buyer’s funds securely in trust and only releases payment on confirmed delivery. Truzo has the potential to save government billions in procurement fraud. We just need the political will to stop the rot.
Envisionit Deep AI could easily roll out our Radify platform to assist doctors in hospitals with a lack of skills and where human capacity just can’t cope with the demand. If we can diagnose patients faster, we can treat them faster, thus reducing the tremendous burden healthcare facilities across the continent face.
What value does building a network bring to your business?
My network has undoubtably been one of my greatest assets. An asset that has mentored me, supported me, enabled my growth and at times called on me to pass on my learnings, which I have gladly done. I’m proud to call Thebe Ikalafeng my very first career and life mentor and being the brand guru that he is, he taught me that your business brand is really just an extension of your personal brand. The strong purpose every one of my past and present businesses have, is testament to the values and purpose I hold personally. I guess that has always been abundantly clear to my network and none of my businesses would have been as successful, had I not cultivated a strong and supportive network.