‘Heavenly touch’ wins competition

‘Heavenly touch’ wins competition

ROMA – NO doubt it was always going to be a fierce competition!
More than 750 of Lesotho’s young bright minds wrestled for MMB Kickstart Competition funding and guess who made it to the finishing line – the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Chemistry and Biology graduate ’Mathekiso Ramositli with her “Heavenly Touch” Soap.
She was the only lady among the six who won!

“There is always a crowd at the starting line,” they say, “but those who make good a promise, and reach the finishing line, comprise a far smaller group.”
So listen to the story of Ramositli and find out how she did it.

She is soft-spoken, but don’t take her for granted, apparently she possesses the heart of a lion.
She “speaks softly, but carries a big stick” as one famous US President would put it.
That’s what many of her competitors learned the hard way during the competition.
What is it about Ramositli’s project that caught the attention of the judges?
“I don’t know,” she responded in a modest tone, “maybe they liked the fact that mine was not just an idea, I have been working on this project for quite some time.”
She could be right.

In Sesotho, they say, “Moketa ho tsosoa o itekang,” meaning you only get help if you are already doing something.
Are you listening our beloved young folks out there? Yes, start doing something now!
Here, then, is today’s lesson: Nothing succeeds like success!

It is not too long ago when Ramositli story of hard work, persistence and discovery was covered in this page.
Just to recap, Ramositli was one of those countless brown-enveloped graduates who criss-cross Lesotho searching for almost non-existent jobs.
At one point she got fed up and called it a quit.
But what would she do?

“I remembered that I was a Chemistry and Biology graduate from the National University of Lesotho,” she recollected.
“I saw many, many uneducated people starting their own businesses and I wondered: if the uneducated could do it, how much more so, for me, a Chemistry and Biology Degreed graduate?”

That was brilliant!
Nothing has misled today’s youths than Lesotho’s age-old belief that if you are educated, you have to be either sitting in an office with bowtie or criss-crossing the entire world from Cape to Cairo in Per diem trips.

Where that culture comes from is a matter of academic debate, but that it is with us, with disastrous consequences, is not up for argument.
So Ramositli used her very little income she obtained from piece-jobs to start experimenting with soaps, reawakening the chemist in her.
In the end, she had a facewash product and she called it “Heavenly Touch.”
It would later prove to be very “heavenly.”

But pay attention to what happened next.
“I started selling right away,” she said.
“In the process, a number of my customers kept informing me what changes I had to make.”
She listened.

Another lesson, our beloved youths, never be wiser than your customers, they know what they want, you don’t.
Pride is before a crash, so says the Bible.

With little resources in possession, she had only two assets that would carry her forward: the willingness to start small, with what she had, and persistence, persistence, and persistence.
At one point, “I was making and selling just 10 bottles a week.”

That is what starting small means, you will learn a lot if you do.
“I would take all the money made from profits and reinvest it in my business.”
At times she would get discouraged, that is, until she laid her hands on a local weekly called thepost newspaper.
She found that the paper covered on a weekly basis, the struggles of NUL students and graduates alike, youth like her, with similar passion and struggles in trying to make changes.
She became a regular reader and was constantly inspired by what she read and resolved to keep moving, after all, she was now part of a bigger picture, a larger group of people trying to make a difference in the neglected area of entrepreneurship.

At one point, she went back to the NUL, where things happen, to have her soap tested.
“I am yet to receive the official results but I learned that my soap meets the most important criterion,” she said.
In the end, she read about Maluti Mountain Brewery’s Kickstart Competition, an amazing initiative meant to help Lesotho’s youth to start businesses, with real money, not just moral support.
“It’s not only that I received money which I am going to use to buy soap-making equipment,” she confided, “I have also learned a lot about business from the Kickstart trainers.”
More importantly, she said she learned the value of targeting the right customers and knowing their needs.
Apparently, she came out wiser than before!
What’s in her parting words?
“I am always amazed at how my customers keep coming back to me for more soap. Now that I plan a mini-factory, thanks to Kickstart, I hope to have a wider reach.”

Own Correspondent

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