This week 150 countries around the world are celebrating entrepreneurs for their creativity, persistence and the many things they do to make our lives better, easier and more interesting.
Entrepreneurs are self-sufficient, independent, hardworking and resilient. They often have to survive and develop their businesses with little or no money. They empower themselves, take risks. It is a life that most people can't do, but without entrepreneurs the world would lack so much of what we take for granted today.
Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others don’t. They take lemons and make Mai Tais. Or they take basic items like bark and rope in a forest where there is no infrastructure, many thousands of kilometres away from everything normally associated with business... and make a honey business.
We are extremely proud to be associated with these beekeeping entrepreneurs. They live in the remote Northwestern province of Zambia. Their lives are harder than we can imagine, yet they have developed micro-businesses harvesting honey from wild African bees. They are part of a network of entrepreneurial beekeepers that use traditional methods to produce certified organic honey of the highest quality. They feed their families and send their kids to school from the income they generate from harvesting honey. They have made a business for themselves where there was none. For them trade goes farther than aid.
These resourceful beekeepers were helped by a Canadian-Zambian eco-entrepreneur. It was Dan Ball who saw in them an opportunity to both make business and make the world better. Dan went into the bush 15 years ago to help a few dozen rural beekeepers with their fledgling honey operations – at the time others just thought he was crazy. Now he has trained 6000 beekeepers in sustainable organic honey production and together they produce 800 tonnes of certified organic honey a year. That’s a lot of entrepreneurial honey.
We started the African Bronze Honey Project when Dan asked us to help find a market for their honey in North America. We saw the opportunity and benefits a larger market would bring to the 6000 beekeepers and the thousands more waiting to be trained. We saw that this entrepreneurial honey could actually bring change to the economy of an African country – if we could just sell their honey –one bottle at a time.
The African Bronze Honey Project brings this amazing honey to North America for enterprising school groups and not-for-profit organizations to sell the honey as a fundraiser. They use this high-quality product of entrepreneurial rural Africa to raise funds for projects here and in Africa – both sides win. We also offer the honey for sale through select organic retailers, including Whole Foods Market (starting with their new Ottawa location), or our online store.
Entrepreneurial honey... Empowerment, in a bottle.