Reflections

A Year in Review: 2019

Nivatha Balendra December 23, 2019

This past quarter has been particularly special as we clocked in one year of running my company, Dispersa, on October 29. It’s humbling to see how an idea turned into a working reality in just 12 months. It all started with a vision: developing my environmental microbiology research into a product that could contribute to a sustainable future. I founded Dispersa after being named a finalist in the Women in Cleantech Challenge and it’s been an incredible journey so far.

Reflecting back on this past year, it’s been an enriching period of personal growth as an entrepreneur — learning (and still learning) new skills, developing my knowledge in the corporate world and, most importantly, growing our Dispersa family to encompass two new team members who I am grateful to be sharing this journey with. I’m equally thankful to have an amazing set of advisors who have been by my side since Day 1, and who continue to support us as we grow.

In the next quarter, we will be furthering our prototype development in preparation for pilot-scale testing. We have a lot of exciting milestones coming up, such as starting our collaboration with CanmetENERGY and finalizing our validation testing with a North American cleaning products company. We were also selected to participate in Ecofuel’s pilot initiation cohort, through which I am currently attending cleantech-focused sessions to advance our startup. In addition, Dispersa was chosen as a finalist to represent Canada at the largest global cleantech competition, ClimateLaunchpad in Amsterdam.

I sometimes have to let it sink in to realize that this is truly happening — that what started off as a science fair project at the age of 17 is now a reality. As well, having undergone a tumultuous period with my cancer diagnosis at the age of 20, it made me realize the precious nature of time and what it is that I truly wanted to achieve in life. Making it out the other side and currently in remission, I promised myself that I would work towards developing this idea into a real-life solution that would help society. As we were cutting cake at CQIB with our team, where both our lab and office are located, I was filled with immense gratitude and appreciation for all the progress that we’ve seen this past year. I can safely say that I’m living my dream each and every day as I have the chance to work with an incredible team to make what is no longer just mine, but our vision a reality.

We want to see our Dispersa technology in action, contributing to a more environmentally sustainable world. And I am excited for what the years to come will hold for us.

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