Dreams in the making …
“You have no idea what this place has done for me Jehan,” said Amar, a young man who was part of The Nest i/o First cohort. “I used to be a very sad and lonely person. This place has brought me back to life, has reminded me what happiness is, introduced me to people who have become friends, comrades – almost family.” I looked directly into his eyes as he shared this, and it dawned on me that there were stories at The Nest i/o that were still waiting to emerge – stories not just of entrepreneurial success but of people who had rediscovered themselves, rebuilt their lives and started their journeys anew.
In a status message on Facebook today, Amar wrote the following:
When I decided to be an entrepreneur and launch my tech startup. I could have never imagined that I would discover myself again and in the process meet some inspirational people that would guide me all the way.
Thank you The Nest I/O for the opportunity …
A special thanks to Jehan for helping me find my soul again. I can write, sing and smile after 10 whole years, all thanks to you. Wow! That is huge! Thank you Amar – all we did was open up our hearts and allow you to become what you already are.
What Amar said reminded me of another young man who had, in one of our heart-to-heart sessions a month or so earlier, told me that he had lost confidence in himself and faith in the integrity of human beings and in relationships, due to past experiences. “Being at The Nest has given me a new lease on life,” he said.
Two things happened as I listened to these amazing young men who have come so far and proven so much in the short space of four months. On the one hand, I felt shattered at the things that they had endured so early on in their lives. There was a seething anger within me targeted at the people who had caused the pain and disillusionment.
On the other hand, I felt overwhelmed at the responsibility that we carry on our shoulders as these young people walk through the doors of our technology incubator with hopes and dreams that they think we will enable them to fulfill. They look to us for much more than just guidance and mentorship – and we better be able to deliver!
When we first started discussing the concept of the haven we wanted to create, we knew it would be an oasis for entrepreneurs. We knew we would put heart and soul into it because none of us were looking at this as an initiative. It was the culmination of a dream that many of us had had and we were going to make sure that it was the beginning of something phenomenal.
The past months have been a roller coaster ride of emotions, of passion, of energy and excitement, of sharing dreams and being involved in helping turn some of those dreams into businesses that will have enormous impact.
What I have learnt over the past months and years is that when you put your heart into something that you believe in, you tend to attract a lot of wonderful people. From the day we announced that we were starting The Nest i/o, the phones haven’t stopped ringing, the volunteerism hasn’t stopped, the offers of assistance just continue to grow. I have always been an optimist, a believer in the intrinsic goodness of people and each day proves to me that I wasn’t wrong in my assumptions. The people who come to The Nest i/o to help and guide, to inspire and motivate, to just listen and provide direction when and where they can, do so because it makes them feel good, it re-energizes them, it brings out the dreamers in them. They are the ones who are helping us build an eco-system that will enable many young aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality. I am just along for the ride.
This will be the first of many blog posts on The Nest i/o – of people, of experiences – stories that will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs who will embark on their journeys to change the world. Embark on this journey with us.
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