Some entrepreneurs stand out, clearly destined to turn their vision in reality. Some entrepreneurs succeed despite the myriad of unjust hurdles of world puts in front of them. Hurdles like being born a women. A black woman. In Africa. In one of the many countries no one outside that country cares about.
Start off any entrepreneur in those circumstances and 99 out of 100 will end up no better off than when they start. Start them off with no resources, and 999 out of 1,000 will never make it out of the valley of death and have nothing to show for their effort.
Add to that four rejections from people like me, or in this case, four rejections for funding from me, and no one else on the planet who even wanted to give her a chance. Throw that on the hypothetical and 1 in a million entrepreneurs would succeed.
That one was Mavis Nducha, founder of Kalahari Honey.
“Was”, because the world is even more unfair than those odds. We lost Mavis this week. The world lost Mavis this week. She passed away in the hospital after weeks of effort trying to keep her alive.
Kalahari Honey, a great example of elephant startup that grew from a first customer at the end of 2018 to $800,000 of revenue in the first half of 2021, on track to break $1 million in revenue in three years on a modicum of investment capital plus Mavis’ vision, talent, and drive.
Mavis is irreplaceable, but what I’ll be doing to honor her is to ensure that Kalahari Honey continues, that Mavis’ vision of saving elephants with bees continues. And right now as we mourn this loss the best words I have to share are Mavis’ own: