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Article: Moio's Next Chapter: Entering College as a Social Entrepreneur

Moio's Next Chapter: Entering College as a Social Entrepreneur

Moio's Next Chapter: Entering College as a Social Entrepreneur

When I reflect on my high school years, I can't help but think of the girl I used to be—the girl with the bracelet company, the one who spent every summer in Zimbabwe, and the girl who, while helping people halfway across the world, felt somewhat removed from those around her. Little did I know that an idea scribbled in the margins of my calculus notebook would evolve into a lifelong passion, one that would take me from the halls of my high school into college. This journey, centered around the creation and growth of Moio, is ongoing, and I find myself at a crossroads, trying to determine how this company aligns with the person I am becoming. We were once inextricably intertwined, but I must define the nature of our relationship moving forward.

Moio's inception, like many great things, began during the pandemic. It was a time when the world was collectively grappling with uncertainty, and artisans in Zimbabwe—artisans I had spent every summer of my life learning to bead alongside—were struggling to support themselves. I had time, access, a connection and decided to do something. 

I started by filling in cells on an Excel spreadsheet, designing bracelets that celebrated traditional Shona beading techniques. The goal was clear: create something beautiful that would not only honor the rich heritage of the artisans that crafted them, but also provide them with sustainable income. Little did I know that my pandemic project would morph into something—a social enterprise. 

As Moio gained momentum, we established a vocational training program that empowered 24 women to become independent entrepreneurs. We initiated intergenerational beading workshops that bridged the gap between generations, ensuring that the legacy of craftsmanship was preserved. Collaborations with renowned brands like Diane von Furstenberg for International Women's Day further validated the impact we were making.

Fast forward to today, and Moio has become an integral part of who I am. The bracelets we create are not just accessories; they are symbols of empowerment, culture, and change. But as I step into a new phase of my life as a college student, I am faced with an important decision. How does Moio fit into this new chapter?

It's a question I've been grappling with, and it's a question that I’m determined to answer. Do I let go of the venture I've nurtured and grown, or do I find a way to balance it with my academic pursuits?

For me, the answer is clear—Moio remains a crucial part of my journey. It's an embodiment of my connection to Zimbabwean heritage and my commitment to social entrepreneurship. I want it to be more than a testament to youthful idealism.

As I navigate college life, I'm finding ways to integrate Moio into my academic pursuits. I've discovered the incredible value of interdisciplinary learning, using my cognitive science major to approach entrepreneurship with a fresh perspective. Moio's evolution continues, and I'm excited to see how it will intersect with my studies, personal growth, and the experiences of my college years. I am no longer the bracelet girl. Hardly anyone here knows about the most important aspect of my life. But they will – on my terms.  

So, to all the high school entrepreneurs out there who are transitioning to college, I say this: don't let go of your passions, no matter how big or small they may seem. Embrace them, nurture them, and let them evolve with you. As I've learned with Moio, your journey may surprise you, and your impact may be greater than you ever imagined.

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