Fri 30 / 07 / 21
"Teach a man to fish, and he'll always eat"
Teddy Nyahasha, CEO of OneFamily, was our guest speaker at July's virtual Chamber Breakfast. Megan Slaughter of Midnight Communications shares some key takeaways from Teddy's talk.
By Megan Slaughter of Midnight Communications
On the 23 July at yet another thought-provoking Brighton Chamber breakfast, members were introduced to guest speaker, Teddy Nyahasha, CEO at Brighton-based financial services provider, OneFamily - interviewed by Steve Bustin of Get Your Voice Heard. Below are some of the key takeaways of Teddy’s talk.
Teddy’s early life
In 1999, loaded with nothing more than the arrogance of youth, a young Teddy left Zimbabwe, the country in which he had grown up and trained as an accountant, to start a new life for himself in London. But, unbeknown to Teddy, it was his life in Zimbabwe that would go on to shape his career in financial services.
Born to a family of peasant farmers, Teddy’s father was the first person in his family to gain a university degree. Here began Teddy’s intrinsic belief that with the right education any child who wishes can, and more importantly should, be given the opportunity to rise through the various social demographics.
The OneFamily ethos
Fast forward to his current role of CEO at OneFamily, and Teddy has ensured that his early belief now underpins the ethos at the heart of the company model.
With over 2.5 million members, predominantly looking to access child trust funds or open children’s saving accounts, OneFamily is dedicated to under-served groups of society.
Teddy eloquently provided the example of opening a junior savings account with the UK’s top financial providers. This would often require a minimum direct debit of £100 per month. He stressed the question: “how many families are £100 away from bankruptcy, let alone have that amount of spare cash to save for each child?”
By offering a £10 direct debit payment as an entry point, OneFamily aims to dramatically reduce the limitations that exclude certain families, and ultimately children, from life opportunities such as these.
Teddy argued that any good thing always has a bad side to it. With child trust funds, for example, where a child has mental incapacity, there are laws in place to protect them from financial abuse.
However, the application of these laws tends to be a problematic for poorer families due to the excessive legal paperwork and fees required to gain power of attorney for accounts that are generally low in value.
Often in these situations, families can be required to pay more in legal fees than they would receive if granted access to the trust fund. So, they do not bother trying to claim money that is rightfully theirs, money that could be helpful in making the life of their child more comfortable.
Take Covid – it is the wealthy parts of society that have done well throughout and will continue to recover well. As we move to a more automated and technology-focused world, what is going to happen to the poverty-stricken parts of society?
The power of education
What’s lacking is how we can work on broader financial education, Teddy explained. It is embarrassing that even something as widely accessible as a lifetime ISA is not common knowledge. Many of the population who are eligible are unaware of the opportunity available to them and are simply waiting for someone to steer them in the right direction.
This further solidifies Teddy’s belief that education and knowledge act as the key to unlocking new opportunities. That’s why, for OneFamily, education is the key focus of their work within the local community - colleagues are encouraged to offer time not just money.
Every year, a portion of the company profits is distributed via a foundation set up by OneFamily dedicated to community causes voted for by its members. So far, approximately £5 million has been donated to education-related causes locally, for example the provision of young person’s hardship grants for learning resources such as laptops, as well as building playgrounds at schools across the city.
Teddy concluded: “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat someday, if you teach him to fish, he’ll always eat.”
Megan Slaughter is PR Executive at Midnight Communications.
Midnight Communications works with businesses, professional service firms and brands alike, applying their commercial expertise to crack consumer briefs and approaching B2B campaigns with creative flair. Find out more about Midnight Communications here.
With thanks to our event sponsor, The Business Hothouse.
If you want to contribute to the Chamber blog, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org