‘Remember to take care of yourself, because running a startup is very hard, time-consuming and gernally demanding. You’re compromising your business if you’re not the best version of yourself, health-wise.’
Regina’s always been a bit of a scientist and technologist. She won her first medal when she was 10 years old, at the regional Eskom Young Science Expo. High school was focused on maths, science and information technology, and Regina then enrolled in electrical and computer engineering at UCT. While studying, she would game at her parents’ arcade centre. It sparked her interest in game development because she wanted to help her parents expand on their business. She noticed unhappy mothers at the arcade centre, who felt that their children were spending all their time playing, instead of doing schoolwork. That’s when Regina knew she could build better games that parents and their children could both appreciate. So she stared Educade, a business that teaches young people through interactive, fun video games, which can be hired for game pop-ups at events. They also host end-of-term and back-to-school game pop-up parties. Follow @educadeSA on Facebook and @67gamesSA on Twitter.
On initial concerns:
Edutainment is not a popular industry, especially when you’re in the serious games space. I did not know whether this would be something that people would be willing to pay for. To overcome this, I took our games and arcade consoles to high-tech gaming events such as Maker Faire, City Walk, Fak’ugesi Festival… I wanted the product to market itself, and generally expose people to our services. The industry is better now, with games like Pokémon Go taking the global stage. People now get that it is possible to have a positive social impact through gaming, without compromising the fun elements.
On her achievements:
Recently, I was part of the Berlin Game Week, showcasing at AMAZE festival. Earlier this year, I was in San Francisco, at GDC (the Oscars of the gaming industry), where I was named International Ambassador and received an award from Oculus. My highlight was being nominated for a UN award, alongside Kofi Annan and the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. That was mind-blowing!
On the future of Educade:
I feel like I’ve positioned myself really well to be among the people who will shape the serious gaming industry. I want to see Educade as one of the leading game studios, contributing to the global game scene. I’m always conscious of the sort of style I use for my games. The Japanese have their style, so does the US, and I would like Educade to have the African style. I always say Educade is a luxury to children with complementing learning tools. But it is a need to those without learning resources. I would like it to continue prioritising the underprivileged.
On the misconceptions of entrepreneurship:
People think it is glamorous, like all you do is travel the world, and have coffee meetings. Also, people always think you have a lot of money. Before coffee meetings, you’re required to have worked really hard, and would have had to come up with a game plan. It is honestly a lot of work, and there is no way of substituting that part.
I also feel like real entrepreneurs make money to reinvest, so as to continue building and growing. There is no money lying around for Zanzibar or island holidays. At least not for the first 10 years or so.
On what women entrepreneurs need more of in SA:
We need more encouragement to enter different spaces. South Africa is one of the countries with amazing women entrepreneurs, running successful saloons, clothing shops, catering companies, media houses and more. It is about time we enter spaces like engineering and tech.
On being told inspiring things:
My mother has done a great job of tricking me into thinking that I can do anything through hard work, positive thinking and perseverance.
On advice for other entrepreneurs:
Seek a support group. It can be a friend, cousin, business partner or your mother. They don’t necessarily have to understand in detail what you do, but they must be willing to check up on you and encourage you to take breaks. Being an entrepreneur is very rewarding but it is also hard. Take care of yourself, drink lots of water, eat well and exercise. Your business is as good/fit as you are.