Meet Bronwyn Murray From Thrive Academy

With it being women’s month we decided to showcase a few local gals that are making their mark in the business world. This week we got to pick Bronwyn Murray brain from Thrive Academy and ask her some questions about being a small business owner and what the future entails.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business

I’m Bronwyn Murray, CEO, founder and educator at www.thriveacademy.co.za. I’ve always felt a calling and an inspiration to do something or be a part of something bigger than myself; to have a lasting and meaningful effect on the lives of others.  In the past several years I’ve been working in various  areas of the education field.  I’ve had exposure and developed experience in homeschooling, private schools and public schools through teaching, facilitation and tutoring jobs.  The opportunities to work in these different sectors have given me a broad view of what does and does not work in education in South Africa. I’ve also been able to see how different types of learners respond to different forms of learning and learning environments. The need for individualised academics and learning environments that are cost effective and accessible has become more and more clear to me and the driving force of Thrive. Thrive is an alternative educational company that offers individual learning experiences to all learner types.  At Thrive we offer one-on-one and small group tutoring in all subjects, fun and relevant workshops, academic and admin support for homeschoolers, and a willingness to try find a solution or offer assistance to all academic needs.

What inspired you to start your business?

My time working in the different educational sectors made me aware of the need in South Africa for more individualised education. A discontentment with the options available in education moved me to create new options. I have been inspired to prototype solutions to problems in South African education and have setup Thrive as a hub to support innovation.Though not everything we try at Thrive is always a perfect solution, our willingness to innovate, test, assess and promote the solutions that do work, makes us a meaningful part of improving education in South Africa. Our impact is small right now, but by no means insignificant and we have already been witnessing the growth of our efforts with a lot of anticipation.  

What do you think are the biggest challenges and also the biggest joys to owning a small business?

One of the biggest challenges is managing the growth of the business in a low risk, sustainable way.  Due to the nature of Thrive, we try not to turn down opportunities to assist learners or schools.  Every query that comes our way is an opportunity to learn more about the educational needs of our community and create solutions that might help that individual, as well as potentially many others in similar situations.  In order to sustain the growing client base, I need to ensure that Thrive has a growing team of educators who are as passionate, inspired and driven as I am about innovating in education. Another challenge is ensuring that I support these team members in a way that allows them the freedom to be passionate, inspired and driven.  

Any challenges I face or Thrive faces as a growing business become worthwhile when we witness a child find a connection with a school subject or see them overcome a learning stumbling block and realise their own capability. The joys of working in education are so palpable, it re-energises us perpetually.  

What is in store for Thrive in the future?

We are working eagerly towards setting up Thrive Academy, an alternative independent school that will offer full-time membership as well as flexible membership for homeschoolers to join for certain lessons, workshops, or days per week. We aim to open Thrive Academy in 2019.

Thrive is setup to grow into an educational hive. A centre where resources, learning areas, workshops, tutors, lessons, and any other supplies that can assist in educational and personal development are made available to all styles, curriculums, ages or grades of learners.

What advice would you give to anyone who is wanting to start their own business?

Try.  List your blockers and actively find a stepping stone for each one. Be sure you are passionate enough to start and to get others to believe in what you’re building. When the passion fades, and there will be times when it does, stick it out, freshen up your vision, tell others why what you’re doing is exciting; the passion almost always comes back and is always evolving.

We love what Bronwyn is doing in the educational world and we wish her nothing but success. Please go check out Thrive Academy Facebook page as well as their website and support this wonderful local business.

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