Nikita knew that starting a honey production business would require more than just hard work. Like so many other young entrepreneurs, she also faced financial and non-financial barriers to success. She took the first step by approaching Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago, which gave her the encouragement to launch her business and offered her a full range of business services – funding, training, and mentoring. Within the first six weeks of operation Nikita had produced her first batch of honey.
Four years later, Nikita is focusing on her clients needs. They want to know where the honey comes from, what trees were flowering, and why the honey is a certain colour. She knows she cannot lose sight of her clients during this period of growth. Her goal is to maximize her reach in the Trinidad and Tobago market.
I listened to Nikita talk with pride about Tropical Hives. She has developed an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the business – including the effects of climate change and pesticide use. Despite the challenges, her passion for beekeeping and honey production has grown. Her objective is to increase production, reach more customers, and perhaps consider exporting across the region in a few years.
I was surprised by Nikita’s statement that young people want to be involved in agriculture. Her story reminds us how easy it is to underestimate the potential of youth. We create false narratives about their interests or their abilities. Nikita is proof that with the right training and supports youth can achieve great things.
What does it take to create a successful business? What about a honey production business? What if the business is located in a small island developing state? What about if the person starting the business is a 27-year old with an under graduate degree in Chemical and Process Engineering and a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Engineering?
Meet Nikita, a young woman who began her entrepreneurial interests at 10 years old selling pencils to her classmates. Today, she’s the owner of Tropical Hives, managing the production, marketing, and distribution of honey in Trinidad and Tobago.