It was my last semester at UGA and May 10 was soon approaching, it was starting to hit me that college was inevitably coming to an end and real life was about to begin.
Most of my friends and classmates were busy going on interviews and accepting jobs after graduation. Everyone was excited to know what each other would do and where they were going. We had all worked so hard for the last four years and now was the time we had all been waiting for. We were eager to finally put everything we learned to the test and more excited to no longer be broke college students.
My last months of college, I didn’t apply to any jobs and did I go on any interviews. Instead, I was contemplating a very different route, one that wouldn’t provide me with the security and the money we’re all seeking but a route I was convicted to take.
Two years earlier, I had an experience that would forever change my life. The summer going into my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to study abroad to Ghana. During the trip I fell in love with the beauty of the culture, textiles, people and of course the food (I could have sworn I gained 10 lbs from all of the chicken and jollof rice I ate). Toward the end of the trip, we visited a program that helps young girls who had been abandoned or came to the city for better opportunities and assisted them in becoming self-sufficient and equipping them with the tools needed to provide for themselves and their families.
The girls welcomed us in a singing-dancing circle and we heard stories of how the program was changing their lives.
As we were about to leave, I got back on the bus, feeling a sense of helplessness and wanted to give back to the girls to help them continue their journey to receive an education. Our group had gathered some items we could leave for the girls but I went back through my bag searching for more I could give to the girls, knowing that everything in my bag wouldn’t be enough.
My time in Ghana and my encounter with the girls was an experience I couldn’t forget once I got home, one that continued to run through my mind as I contemplated what could I do and how. I shared my experience with my best friend Sasha and we both knew, we wanted to be a part of supporting the girls as well as those with similar stories around the world. We had an idea to start a business but I still wasn’t sure if this is would just be a passion project or something I would pursue full time after college.
Call me crazy but I believed that even though our support would have to start small it would grow into educating hundreds even thousands of girls around the world.
And at the end of the day, those beliefs were all I needed to make my final decision. Instead, of following a plan of security, I would take a journey into the unknown and decided to start a business immediately after graduation, to help support the girls receive an education. No, I didn’t have any experience and no, I didn’t have any money. But I figured I had nothing to lose and there was no better time than now.
Two weeks after graduation, we launched Bené and I started working the business full-time. Bené is a collection of scarves with love at its core; we are committed to educating girls in Ghana and growing our impact around the world.
Two years into my entrepreneurial journey, I can honestly say that I am crazy, but as Steve Jobs said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
To follow along the craziness of my entrepreneurial journey, check out The Journey of Blue.