大约18个月前，我的任务是 把生命 BASEflow’s bleach-making initiative that was introduced to us by WaterStep, 永利在线的战略合作伙伴之一. Since I was not doing much at the time as a recently unemployed youth looking for work, I took on the challenge – and what a challenge it has been.
One of the first things I ended up doing was driving BASEflow’s flood response effort where I had to coordinate the production and distri但ion of bleach to households that were affected by the massive floods, 由艾代飓风引起, 在2019年袭击了马拉维南部. 永利在线给2313户家庭送去了漂白剂, 用于消毒表面和洗手, accompanied by hygiene training; it was such gratifying work and I felt I was making a difference (as cheesy as that sounds now). 我当时很兴奋! 我感觉势不可挡，准备好挑战世界了, 但 little did I know that a major low was on my horizon.
Muthi, 我的团队领袖, challenged me to think about expanding the bleach making initiative into the commercial space and see if there was any market potential for the bleach. 受此启发, I decided to apply for a competition called The Future Summit run by the Social Impact Incubator (SII), a capacity building initiative for small and emerging social enterprises/organizations. 我很有信心BleachMaker, 这本身就是一项获奖的技术, would get the recognition it deserved (and a little bit of investment to scale operations). I went through the first two stages of the competition without a hitch; at the first stage I had to apply to the program by providing a high level presentation about our solution, followed by the second stage where I had to present our solution to my fellow ‘contestants’ and get valuable input from the SII. 当我穿越每一个阶段时, I could see that the judges were impressed with me 哪一个 didn’t surprise me given my bubbling personality and boundless confidence! 但接下来是最后一个阶段:公开推销. My goodness, nothing could have prepared me for what I faced!
I sat through other sales pitches by other presenters who were, 坦率地说, 比我更自信，有更酷的想法. What excitement I had left turned to nervousness and angst; Muthi tried to take my mind off the nervousness by walking with me around the sale pitch venue, 但这并没有多大帮助. I don’t remember the few moments on stage, it’s a blur now. All I remember is that me and my bleach making idea came third to some other high-tech app-solution that just wowed the socks off the mostly millennial audiences and the stone-faced judges.
说真的，我被掏空了. 在那之后，我觉得我不能再这样做了. 我觉得自己像个骗子，一个骗子，一个江湖骗子! 我震惊了，我的热情几乎消失殆尽. 我试着用其他外勤工作分散自己的注意力, 但我仍能感受到失去亲人的阴影, 失败, 即将在我, 漂白剂的作用让人感觉它快要死了.
The global pandemic led to a spike in interest for our bleach within a short span of time. We received an order for 1000-Litres of bleach from an International NGO 哪一个 I was able to deliver within less than 3 days of production time (哪一个 actually meant I had to stay up all night, 喝咖啡，看电影, 在办公室制作漂白剂). 在那之后, I brought in an undergraduate engineering student to help me deliver bleach to 35 health care facilities in rural Blantyre to help them combat the spread of coronavirus within their facilities; 我写的一个故事 另一个博客 . 直到现在我才意识到, 与每个订单, 每个不眠之夜的漂白剂生产, 我重新找回了自信, 我对自己的信心. 请原谅我的夸张，我觉得自己又活过来了!
Muthi encouraged me to apply for another social investment opportunity, this time it was for the Growth Accelerator Call for Innovations to respond to the spread of COVID-19. If we were successful, there would be start-up capital to scale-up the bleach making business.
We could invest in proper branding and distri但ion of the bleach!
We could hire a salesforce and drive door-to-door sales!
We could increase the number of BleachMakers so we could increase output!
I could feel myself getting excited about the prospects and then, 恐惧中设置, 随之而来的是自我怀疑.
Did fate, the universe or karma convene a gathering to orchestrate the 打破我的情绪气球 for their viewing pleasure, as if there was not enough misery in my life? 尽管我害怕, I could feel a gentle groundswell of self-confidence trying to break through from under my self-doubt.
又发生了吗?? 我记得我一直在想. I didn’t have an answer to that question, 但 instead I decided to take it in strides.
就像社会影响力孵化器大赛一样, there were hoops and stages we had to go through; at each stage, 我使自己陶醉，不感到兴奋, 哪一个, 如果你了解我的性格, was like walking between the raindrops during a monsoon. 然后, 比如孵化器竞赛, we made it to the final stage of face-to-face interviews with the Growth Accelerator assessors who came to our offices in Blantyre. With the help of Muthi and Hector (BASEflow’s Ecosystems Programme Specialist), 3人面试小组 似乎 convinced with our pitch, 但 I wasn’t keeping my hopes up. Once the assessors left our office and we went over everything we said or should have said or could have said, 接下来要做的就是等待. 和等待. 和等待.
然后, 在几周的等待，以至放弃之后, we got the results: out of 160 applicants who submitted their ideas, 只有19人被选中进行后续启动融资.
现在, I’m in the middle of unenviable paperwork to get the start-up capital (worth US$ 15,通过这扇门，让永利在线开始. My mind is buzzing with eagerness to hit the ground running. 但当我看完文件后, 但没有成功, 让我安心, 我回想起管理BleachMaker的历程, 我的高潮和低谷, and now I understand what Winston Churchill meant when he said:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.
As I move into another phase of my professional career, 我不知道命运如何, 宇宙或业力在为我准备, 但, 就像我 让它复活, I plan to find the courage to continue and make this Bleach Business, 我的第一个出生的, 一个成功的故事.