Finally. My last blog post. This project has been an interesting journey for sure. Balancing the responsibility of an independent project with: getting into college, memorizing lines for a play, memorizing for another play, rehearsals for the first play, yet even memorizing for a third play (are you sensing a theme here?), working on scholarships, trying desperately to be interested in my statistics class, and finishing out the year at Westtown – making the most out of these last couple of weeks with my boarding school family; that balancing act sure has been tough. In the end though it was worth it. In my research I have learned the most not from the endless statistics and stories on the state of India’s sanitation (whether it be in relation to Bio-gas or the Ganges), but from the sheer foolish ambition of my goals in this project. I did not fully comprehend the scale or complexity of planning a business, particularly the span of time necessary to move from a concept to the organization of a business plan. Here I am in May with a solid concept of a socially responsible service, but no business plan to speak of. This for me was not a failure, but a misscalculation and a resulting lesson. I thought, months ago, that a business plan would be the final product of this independent seminar, and involved myself in all manner of talk about investors and networking, and while I have reached out to socially minded companies of a similar focus (such as + Pool), ultimately I have stumbled upon an understanding of a much different but equally valuable process: incubation.
The hours of research and thought that I have poured into this project have brought me to a powerful concept. This is the space in development at which a project such as + Pool, or the Highline might reach out to gather support for the realization of their idea – make a Kickstarter, publish a youtube video, reach out to investors or municipalities, or organize meetups to publicize and create conversation. The motivation sparked by an issue I care about to push forward and create business plan, the eventual realization of a faulty idea, scrapping, moving back to the drawing board, reassessing, reimagining, and continuing to move forward – all of this came together to form the process of realizing a “baby business” – a start up. I was entirely unaware of the intensive development, redefinition, and incubation a concept must go through before it is concrete enough, strong enough, to become the foundation for a business plan before embarking on this project. So here I am. “Bio-gas in India” collapsed, but it gave way to an idea which held weight – and thought the work and research I have accumulated this idea has been fostered into a solid concept: A Ghat-side oasis in the Ganges river providing safe water to the people of Varanasi using concentric filtering systems. Where to next? Taking this concept and shaping it into a concise business pitch that can be taken to investors and collaborators.