A dentist and a alum of business science and finance. These are the bodies arch allegation in active a family-owned bee agriculture venture.
Who said agriculture is arid and alone meant for the illiterate? Dr Diana Okello, 32, and her brother-in-law Lester Ontegi (pictured), 25, accept demystified that.
This is abnormally important at a time abounding adolescent bodies alum from academy to seek employment. Abounding get ashore at job-seeking and never absolutely breach off.
Okello, a dentist and Ontegi a broker allotment with The Smart Harvest and Technology how they are powering a bee-keeping adventure admitting their ambitious careers.
With anniversary bringing altered abilities and ability to the table, they accept managed to beacon the business from the rural home in Kisii to a abiding accouterments in Nairobi and creating jobs for adolescent people.
Their agribusiness, Bee Happy Ltd, operates over 70 beehives in Kisii and has additionally sub-contracted aggregators from Baringo and Kitui counties.
But how did it all start?
Power of a dream
Together with Okello, and with abutment from his family, he managed to put calm an agribusiness that is assuming abundant affiance three years later.
“I had not planned to alum and alpha a honey business,” he says. “It happened by chance.”
It did not amount that he had a adorned amount accepting accelerating with a Bachelor’s amount in Business Science and Accounts from Strathmore University.
It was 2017 and he was 22. The ages was June. At his family’s rural home in Keumbu, Kisii County, bees had colonised the chase in the capital house.
“We would ablaze a blaze and see honey decrepit down,” he says. “We bare the bees out of the house. We congenital three hives for them to move into.”
The hives were placed strategically about the compound. The bees did move into them.
“So, the bees fabricated honey and we would harvest and use it domestically,” he says.
Working from the kitchen
In the weeks arch to graduation (towards the end of June 2017) Ontegi absitively to backpack the family’s kitchen honey in a jar, cast it, and bazaar it on amusing media.
Interestingly, that column on amusing media was the aboriginal block that has led to this moment.
“I was afraid by the orders I got. Before one anniversary delayed I had awash 20 jars,” he says. Orders kept trickling in.
Around the aforementioned time he got a alarm from a bounded bank, alms him a position he had activated for.
He angry it down. He had altered ideas.
“I went to my parents and explained the numbers. I bare them to invest. My aim was to argue them of the abeyant of the honey business.”
Pitch abstraction to parents
He allegation accept done a acceptable job, because, in the end, he got the money and abstruse support. His mother helped him annals the company.
Ontegi chock-full applying for jobs to focus on the honey business. With aught acquaintance in bee-keeping, he delved into accessible literature.
“I started account books on beekeeping and honey business. The internet became a acceptable companion. I knew that for me to do a acceptable job, I bare to arm myself with as abundant advice as possible.”
For a name, he acclimatized on ‘Bee Happy Enterprises Limited’.
Before ‘Bee Happy’ Ontegi had interned for some companies — accepting complex in developing business strategy, branding and design. These abilities came in accessible as he mashed up the accent to advertise as abundant honey as possible.
In the advance of account advanced — on bee agriculture — Ontegi apparent that honey can be alloyed with capacity such as amber and cinnamon.
The abstraction to alter into alloyed honey was able back a applicant asked for honey with chilli, amber and cinnamon.
He resorted to acquirements the beverage processes. The internet became a admired ability for him.
The action of beverage takes days. But the after-effects are advantageous for the ambition client, he says.
Ontegi relied on amusing media platforms, about entirely, to advertise Bee Happy honey. This was in bike with the business archetypal from inception.
Most orders, he says, came through Instagram, a abundant cardinal through Twitter and Facebook.
Honey business in Kenya has developed over the years with some businesses employing backstreet practices — bond amoroso and added algae to accomplish college volumes.
Ontegi knew that actuality would win him clients.
The aforementioned year in December — with sales ramping up every ages — he took a berth at the agronomical appearance in Nairobi. One of the exhibitors was Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI).
“As I absolved about I came beyond the KIRDI tent. I begin bodies accepting their honey activated real-time.
“I did not alike apperceive that there was a actinic analysis for honey. One of the agents told me that they accept a administration that offered training on honey,” Ontegi says.
Hungry to apprentice he took a few contacts from the Kirdi covering and got in blow later.
“I took up a training that lasted six months and amount Sh10, 000.”
It was a advantageous investment. Through training at Kirdi he acquired the Kenya Bureau of Standards affection mark.
In 2018, Bee Happy maintained an advancement trajectory. As about-face grew so did the business — so abundant that the action confused its operations from Ontegi’s active allowance to a concrete abode forth Lang’ata Road in Nairobi.
Dentist cum strategist
Enter Okello, Ontegi’s sister-in-law and administrator of the lath of directors.
Okello, who Ontegi says is Bee Happy’s co-founder – is in allegation of developing business structures from legal, operational and banking needs.
She says: “We are a antithesis of forces. Like two peas in a pod. We advantage anniversary other’s strengths and accomplishment set.”
Okello, a paediatric dentist, is now as complex in the business as her brother-in-law. Why would a dentist, with a clandestine practice, appetite to be a bee farmer?
“I don’t booty amoroso myself. And as a dentist I admonish patients to seek alternatives that are convalescent for their mouths, teeth and accepted well-being. Honey is a accustomed aspartame and in that faculty my captivation feels purposeful.”
But how does she alter her active career with beekeeping and motherhood?
“Most mornings I am at my dental clinic, but in the evenings afterwards work, I bolt up with Ontegi and we blow abject on advance on our bee agribusiness.
“We additionally accomplish time over the weekends to appointment the hives and analysis how things are progressing,” she says.
She says she sleeps for four hours. A acceptable allotment of the actual 20 hours is disconnected amid dentistry and Bee Happy.
Lucky for them, bee-keeping is not a labour accelerated business and they advertise through amusing media accounts: authoritative home deliveries in Nairobi and partnering with a bagman account for civic deliveries.
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