Shell LiveWIRE China: Helping Entrepreneurs Make their own Luck
Sep 23, 2020
Entrepreneur Qi Shenghong’s inspirational story shows the value of tenacity and resilience during tough times.
Shell LiveWIRE China, which entered into the LiveWIRE family just last year, is off to an exciting start. Despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19, the team has launched their first cohort of entrepreneurs, with help from their Implementing Partner CD Finance. This group is filled with entrepreneurs making big changes in their communities, but one story in particular has stood out.
In 1998, Qi Shenghong's spine was injured when the mine he was working in collapsed, leaving him wheelchair-bound for life. Only 29 years old, with his family relying on him, Shenghong faced an uncertain future.
Since he could no longer work, Shenghong and his family registered as a “poor household,” enabling them to access government aid. Still, Shenghong resisted his status as a dependant and wished to make his own living.
In 2016, Qi Shenghong began to learn hand-knitting techniques, which he used to produce small crafts. Then, in 2017, he opened his first workshop, operating out of a free village activity room. Shenghong’s business model is one of inclusive productivity: his team trains the disabled, poor families and left-behind children in his village, all while making root carvings and hand-made woven crafts for resale. Over the past few years, he has trained more than 200 such students, including more than 40 disabled or poor individuals.
The road to entrepreneurship hasn’t always been smooth sailing, however. Qi Shenghong has faced many challenges, such as a lack of funding, low sales and management difficulties. Nevertheless, for Shenghong, everything in life is a question of perspective, and these business challenges don’t begin to compare with his previous suffering. As he says, “do not bow to fate, do not give in, and luck may come your way.”
Luck, bolstered by hard work and dedication, certainly did come Shenghong’s way. CD Finance was able to provide financing to enable a healthier cash flow for his enterprise. Further, Shell LiveWIRE China provided him with free training on business skills, sales and management. Today, Shenghong’s business is registered as a professional cooperative, and he continues to fulfil his duty to his family while supporting other disabled people to earn their own living. For the future, Qi Shenghong is full of hope.