At times this year has felt like it has nearly broken me (I’m sure many can relate). At the start of the year I was working a job the same as I was doing in my early 20’s, prior to studying a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and running two early-stage businesses focused on commercialising new technologies. The job was cash flow to facilitate building my/ our businesses. March arrived, and with the advent of COVID-19 really taking effect in Australia came almost a complete halt to business progress.
We were literally weeks away from commercial product supply, license/ production agreements were all but signed off, and the technology poised to be released. The progress slowed to a snail’s pace as everyone seemed to re-shift their focus to their own business survival and so started the uphill climb for the rest of 2020.
We have been fortunate to have solid relationships with our various partners and although progress slowed to a near halt, it didn’t completely stop. It continued slowly and brought into focus the value of good relationships in business – a notion we have focused on since we started out. Forward movement is still progress, regardless of how small.
Around the middle of the year I made the decision to quit that job (a decision which to some seemed crazy given being in the middle of a global pandemic) and re-focus my efforts on the businesses. My perception of time became magnified. A day or a week could seem an eternity as I waited for the phone to ring, or an email to drop which would lead to the next step forward. Challenging and sometimes frustrating times waiting on others to do their part forced the realisation that my priorities were not necessarily theirs. This realisation helped with the internal conversation that the delays to my own progress were not intentional by others but were simply reflective of others having their own competing priorities.
Looking back at the year that was, it was in many ways similar to previous years (although previously there wasn’t a pandemic to cope with). Progress is often slow, and at times the whole thing seems impossibly hard, but a steadfast vision for the future provides direction. The entrepreneurial journey is one of macro thinking, with micro focus – or to put it another way, a builder follows an architect’s plans, but lays each brick one at a time until the house is built.
Let’s just say for me at least 2020 has been a character-building year. One that has built resilience, and which has strengthened my resolve to achieve my goals, to follow my dreams, and to make a difference.
The journey to here – A light bulb moment some 8 years ago set us on this path. An entrepreneurial journey of resilience, of growth, challenges, failures and of successes which started with a focus on disruptive innovation in the wine industry. A consumer-focused technology to improve the consumer wine experience.
This consumer focus in the development of the wine technology dialled in the thinking about the consumer being at the heart of the innovation drive, after all you can come up with the best idea in the world but if there are no consumers for the product, there is no value to be had. The notion that value is always co-created held as true then as it does today.
Making a difference – It sometimes seems a far cry to think that two brothers from the Barossa Valley, South Australia could change the world, but when you think about it, where would be an appropriate place to come from to pursue such a feat? The point is it doesn’t matter at all where you come from; what matters is the vision, the drive and the tenacity to chase the dream and relentlessly push forward.
The entrepreneurial mindset developed over the first few years working to develop the wine innovation naturally lends itself to seeing opportunities most don’t to create something new. When this is combined with a desire to make a difference, to help others and also to build something great, great things can happen. We saw an opportunity to develop a new technology in conjunction with our wine technology which focused on a solution for safe water provision, specifically focused on the supply of safe water in the first 24-48 hours following a disaster and emergency event, and that would also be relevant and valuable to people in their general lives as well.
Puribag – Puribag is a lightweight 10L flat-pack water purification bag which can purify and make safe to drink nearly any contaminated fresh water source in as little as 30 minutes.
It has been designed to be stockpiled prior to events happening, and for rapid deployment following an event providing people affected with safe water until infrastructure is restored Critically, the first 24-48 hours after an event occurring is the time when people are at their most vulnerable and also is the time when Puribag can help the most. The focus point where we felt we could make the most difference.
Many people have supported us in various ways on our journey to here. At times that support has been to challenge our thinking, even if only to justify its validity to what we were doing, and other times it might just be an encouraging word to lift the spirits. Having said that, there have also been those who are not supportive and who are not happy to see people doing something different; those who lack their own self confidence and are threatened by the appearance of others doing “better” than them.
“It takes a village to raise a child” was a phrase introduced to us early in this journey, and building a business is no different. No one does it alone. We would not have been able to achieve the dream of bringing Puribag to life without the help and belief of some amazing and dedicated people that we’ve been so fortunate to have around us. So, a huge thankyou to those people who’ve helped make this happen, and we look forward to continuing to share in this life-changing experience going forward into the future, for us, and for all those we can help along the way.