I WhatsApp’d Zelipah Mukudu all day in preparation for this presentation. I thought for sure I had it in the bag. Clarence had run around the evening before to get t-shirts printed with my logo on them. I was ready, this presentation was gonna change my life.
With funding everything becomes possible— Culprit (@CulpritEnter) March 2, 2020
I left work and headed straight there. I met other creative entrepreneurs in the foyer and each one of us was on edge. We really needed this opportunity. You see, the winner gets to walk away with an award and some money. Who doesn’t like money?
I got on stage, delivered my presentation, responded to questions from the judges and whoosh I was gone. I had left work and I needed to go back. I didn’t stick around to hear the other presentations. I’m glad I hadn’t cause we had lost. I had to break it to my Board that we hadn’t made it.
On some days, it feels like everything is possible, and on others – absolutely nothing.— Mashudu Modau (@Mashstartup) February 12, 2020
I was heartbroken. I genuinely felt like the idea wasn’t worth pursuing and that it wasn’t worthy of funding. I gave up. After going for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, I renewed my interest in this project. I applied for one of the grants available to YALI Alumni and once again we didn’t get the grant. The disappointment was paralytic.
You’ve been given that vision for a reason. There’s nothing random about the blessing of an idea that was planted in your mind. You’re supposed to bring it to life. Trust yourself! The resources will arrive as you move forward and follow the signs. You’re being guided!— Idil Ahmed (@idillionaire) January 5, 2020
Then Value Creation comes along, my team and I tweaked the proposal and submitted it. I was excited when tweets of the finalists were published. And once again, we weren’t shortlisted. At this point, I was numb. The rejection was now a familiar kind of pain. I felt nothing.
In a competition, the winner does not take it all. Some of the #VCCzwTopTen said that even if they do not win the capital, the opportunity to take part in Value Creation Challenge was already impactful. #VCCzw #VCCzwIncubation @OldMutualZW @zwBritish @StimulusAfrica @IdeasHatch pic.twitter.com/GgrZjHYmzt— Value Creation Challenge ZW (@ValueCreationZW) March 12, 2020
Fast forward to February 2020, I stumble across a grant for digital skills. I must be a sucker for punishment. I was so busy I couldn’t notice the deadline drawing closer. On the day it was due, I ditched my work station and completed the application form from the office restroom on my phone. I consulted no one. I sought out nought from anyone. I submitted it one minute after deadline and went back to my work station.
A round of applause for the 2020 EQUALS Digital Skills Fund grantees!— The Web Foundation (@webfoundation) March 25, 2020
👏 Elegant IT
👏 The Global Active Learning Group
Days later, I got the email that we had been selected to get the grant. Not only that, but they would fund the project to be upscaled. I revised the project and sent it back to them. The contract came and it was a done deal! On the staff bus, heading back into town, I got an SMS from the bank. I just opened it wondering why they’d text me mid-month. And there it was, grant money had come in with the most zeros I’ve ever seen in my life. In that moment reality sunk in, I had finally won a grant to fund my dream project.
Calling all female bloggers, we need your help. We are working on something special for female creative entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and you can have your say. Submit your 50-word piece by 14 April 2020. #SheNspiration #ZimCreatives #ZimBloggers pic.twitter.com/WY2nSZBFRc— Girls Social Club ZW (@GirlGrandeurZw) April 1, 2020
After failing three times, the fourth time was the charm. I still can’t believe that this is happening. Whatever your dream is, no matter how many times they have told you, “No!” Keep at it, your yes is coming and it’s gonna be bigger than all the no’s summed up together.