Perhaps the autumn die-off of nearly half of the United Nectar hives was a gift in disguise. How so, you ask?
WomenVenture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women-owned businesses by providing microloans, working capital, education and ongoing consultation through all stages of business.
I have spent the last seven years learning how to tend hives; every visit to the apiary teaches me something new. That said, I have not succeeded as well at splitting my time and energy between my family, my apiary and my full-time job.
I am reaching outside my comfort zone being so planful. United Nectar was born out of my love of beekeeping and I have been following my bliss, as they say. With a job and two kids, pets and all that entails, I have not taken the time to sit down and look at the iniative long-term. Also, subjecting my ideas to the scrutiny of others does not come naturally, so the class is certainly a stretch for me.
Because of the class workload, I have decided not to replace any of the colonies that failed last fall. I will split the remaining colonies and tend them throughout the summer and the lighter workload will allow me to finish the class and come up with a sustainable business and financing plan for United Nectar. My goal is to tend hives seasonally and work part-time in the winter.
So far the class has been fruitful. United Nectar now has a Mission Statement:
In support of honey bees and a balanced environment, United Nectar tends healthy, sustainable hives producing high-quality minimally-processed raw honey and beeswax for sale and resale.
My goal is to create a business where I can keep bees, mentor new beekeepers, teach beekeeping and honey education classes and sell honey, beeswax and value-added apiary products both wholesale and retail.
The trick will be to hammer out the numbers for a financially feasible business model and find some funding. I have no doubt, given the current environment, that the business, planned-well, will be successful.
Onward & Upward!
Onward & Upward!