“Are you ready for the big questions? Sweetie, I need your mind here… There is a million shillings out there for the most promising female entrepreneur sweetie.”
Makena had been distracted. Dougie was five minutes away from dropping her at Mark’s apartment on Riverside Drive. She had forgotten to tell Dougie that she still lives in Buruburu. If she did, she would have to explain to him her relationship with Mark. She honestly didn’t know where they stood. Was it work or personal?
In the next 12 hours she will be standing in front of hundreds of delegates attending the 6th Africa Women Entrepreneur’s Summit at the KICC. Every delegate looked forward to the pitching sessions where their companies stood to win a million Kenyan Shillings. A shortlist of the pitch participants was made available on the 4th day of the summit, a day away from the pitching session. Makena had been so surprised to see her name among the 20 participants from Africa.
Every contestant had five minutes to present and two minutes to answer questions from the panel comprising of venture capitalists and renowned entrepreneurs around the world. Makena was slotted for 2:30 pm, the 2nd contestant after lunch. Initially, she had frowned about her timing. Her online research had rated mornings as the best time to make a pitch. Afternoons, especially early afternoon after lunch, were rated the least favorable time. Timing notwithstanding, Oti had dug up pages and pages on the internet on how to deliver a winning pitch. Dougie was also on his toes making sure Makena got the best of the glooming.
Makena had agreed to a bob cut on a last minute basis. She feared how weaves sometimes forced their personality on someone. Some weaves tend to say you are wild, crazy, shy, uncontrollable or lost. Makena did not have the fabric to have all that personality interwoven into her already failing confidence.
“Now that’s classy,” Dougie quipped. “You look like a news anchor. No, you look like a million bakes sweetie!”
Her parliament blue skirt suit hung on the passenger’s seat in Dougie’s car. Everything was set, except for the part about going to Mark’s place. It would take her too much energy chatting with Mark. The summit had taken so much of her energy and all she wanted to do was sleep. She contemplated on catching a matatu back to town and then to her house in Buruburu.
“Here you are sweetie. Let me know if you need anything. Make me proud Eem.”
Makena watched as Dougie drove away back to the city. With her new suit hanging on her back, she pressed the doorbell on Mark’s apartment. Makena panicked when an older lady opened the door.
“Karibu, Mark is upstairs taking a shower. Here, we always make enough for our guests.”
Makena held to the hot cup of Kenyased.
“I will hang this in the guest room.”
She watched as the lady disappeared with her suit to the other end of the living room.
Mark walked down the staircase with urgency. The old lady must have said something. He smelled of fresh shampoo as he hugged Makena tightly. He only let go when the old lady walked past the living room on her way out.
“First things first! Confidence! Confidence is key. Even if you are not very sure of what you are saying; fake confidence. But then again, you have to be sure about what you are saying. I want you to go rehearse on that mirror in the guest bedroom. You can take a shower first if you want. Mama Wambo left you some pyjamas you can change into. When you are done, I want you to pitch to me. You have 15 minutes.”
Makena dragged her feet to the extreme end of the room where the old lady had earlier disappeared to. The aroma of fried chicken became stronger even as she walked to a spotless clean bedroom with a long mirror against the wall.
“My name is Makena. I run Makena Communications Ltd. My company bridges the gap…” she continued as she stripped naked.