top of page


     From across the table, Paul Martin could see his brother Dan was tired. His eyes dropped as he rested his head against his palm, elbow placed firmly on the tabletop. Dan had just returned to Maryland from a California trip to gain investments for their business-- Martin Bio-Engineering Technology (MarBET). Two years ago the brothers had used their investments from previous jobs to start their own company to do research into the development of bacteria to enhance the growth of produce. Their goal is to improve the output of farms to meet the food demand in the coming decades.
     Their initial investment is running low, and they need additional income to continue their research for the coming months. Their only employee is Elizabeth (Beth) Wright who had no financial investment in the company but had been with them since the beginning and felt as much ensconced with the company as an investment would make her. She supports Paul’s work as the Lead Researcher under Paul’s guidance. Paul holds the title of Vice President of development, while Dan is president of the company and handles the finances and fundraising.
     “You should be in bed,” Paul glanced at Beth sitting to his right. “We can continue this tomorrow.”
     “Yeah, you’re probably right, but I need to know when we expect some results. Something tangible to show prospective investors. That was their main objection to putting down money; we didn’t have a solid example of our research to show them any progress.”
     “We’re close,” Beth looked at Paul for support. “It’s just a matter of a month or less.”
     “And what will we have then?” Dan studied Paul and Beth.
     “We have developed a ten percent increase in the growth of root plants—potatoes, yams, rutabagas. That should be something, but in less than a month we will have seeds to support that.”
     “Less than a month?”
     “Yeah,” Paul assured.
     “Is it that bad?” Beth’s voice was soft, quiet, unsure. “I thought you said we had enough reserve to last through the end of the year.”
     “Almost,” Dan shook his head, “Why? Are you looking for something else?”
     “Should I?”
     “Maybe… But give me another few weeks to get a better presentation together before you decide anything. OK?”
     “I’m not looking,” Beth added sitting back in her chair, relief covering her face.
     “Isn’t our current research enough? We’ve shown the potential of enhanced growth already. In several studies on various plants. That should be enough to convince them the company is solid.”
     “You don’t understand the mindset of the investors. They don’t want to take a chance on something new without solid research that shows a profit can be made. Farmers have been growing plants for years and if they’re not receptive to new ideas they won’t change. We have to show a real benefit in a new way. A benefit that gives both farmers and investors a reason to change their ideas.
     “That’s foolish,” Beth shook her head, blonde curls bouncing back and forth.
     “Yeah, maybe so, but that’s reality.”
     “What are we going to do?”
     “I don’t know Beth. You guys have any ideas?”
     Paul and Beth looked at each other and at Dan but just shook their heads. They could take out a loan, but they had no collateral to back it. A grant would help, but that takes time. They were down to their last reserves with little time to produce something meaningful.
     “So, what have you guys come up with?” Dan asked.
     “We will keep working on our growth rates and the production of seeds from those plants. We should have something substantial soon.” Paul could not help feeling the pressure of the situation and the need to work faster. That’s not what he needed at the moment, what he needed was some time away. He and Beth had been working ten to twelve hours a day for weeks and they were getting exhausted and making mistakes. Mistakes that were slowing down progress. A short break should help, maybe a week.
     “Well, it’s not looking good financially. We have to come up with something. I’ll try some contacts in the government and see if there any chance of getting a grant, or something.” Dan stood up to leave. “Keep me posted on your progress.”
     “Before you go,” Paul said, “Bath needs some time off, so she will be gone for the next four days.”
     Dan looked at Beth, then Paul, “Why don’t you take a couple of days too. You  both look tired.”
     As Dan left Paul looked at Beth, “It doesn’t sound good at all. It’s going to take us more than a month to get any results.”
     “I know,” Beth said.
     “Maybe we’ll feel better after a couple of days off,” Paul smiled at Beth and stood to leave.
     “Maybe,” Beth answered.

bottom of page