The goal of this project is to aid seven beekeepers of Manenberg in the establishment of a cooperative, a business plan that encompasses future cooperative membership and services growth, and an education program that secures the sustainability of the beekeepers and the importance of environment conservation and to provide a guide to other low income residents aspiring to be successful in micro enterprise ventures.

The objectives of this project include:

  1. Establish a relationship with the seven beekeepers.
  2. Determine the status of the Urban Beekeeping Project.
  3. Facilitate progress towards the formation of a registered and productive cooperative.
  4. Develop the beekeepers’ business knowledge and skills.
  5. Develop sustainable support structure for the seven beekeepers and other aspiring beekeepers in South Africa.

In helping to develop skills, encourage, and be utilized throughout our project, we spent our time learning the process with the beekeepers.  We do not know everything about business; however, we do know how to research and utilize resources.  This knowledge we shared with the beekeepers to assist them through the process.



Friendships Built Between Beekeepers and WPI Group

To be most successful in supporting the seven beekeepers in their business progression, we first wanted to establish a mutually respectful and trusting relationship.  Our goals were to gain perspective, strengthen their commitment, rebuild their confidence in the cooperative, and be made available as a supportive resource, since the confusing and tedious tasks in establishing a business can be intimidating and discouraging.  The steps we took to develop our relationship included:

  • Mutual sharing of personal stories and backgrounds,
  • Spending as much time together as possible,
  • Showing our initiative and always making ourselves available, and
  • Providing reassurance and support for every step along the way.



Networking Between Beekeepers, Honeybee Foundation, and The Business Place Philippi

Upon arriving in Cape Town, our foremost concern was determining the actual status of the Urban Beekeeping Project. To do this in a timely manner we had to network quickly and effectively with the different organizations that we knew were involved: the beekeepers, The Honeybee Foundation, and the City of Cape Town. Through communication with these groups, we also learned of an additional contact, the Overstrand Training Institute (OTI).

Organizing the first contact with the beekeepers was essential because they are the focus of the project.  It was important to establish communication with the City since they were the primary supporter of the project, The Honeybee Foundation due to their mentorship responsibilities, and OTI because they had the critical role of educating the beekeepers in business.  We quickly established contact with all of these organizations via the most rapid means possible: telephone and email. Once the foundation of communication had been laid down, we met with all of the relevant groups in person to intensify the flow of information.



Portfolio Progress at the Eco-Theater

The first few meetings with the seven beekeepers helped  paint a clear picture of the project’s status. Once we knew the beekeepers had already dedicated themselves to the process of forming a cooperative, we embraced the role of catalysts in facilitating its establishment . The beekeepers’s first step of the process was to identify all of the necessary steps to filing for a cooperative with the beekeepers. They employed the help offered at the Overstrand Training Institute as a resource for much of this information.  From there, a timeline  of milestones was created. Once the goals and steps were clearly laid out in the timeline, the beekeepers’ next stage was to tackle the grind-work.

Several workshops over the period of our stay in South Africa were held to provide working time and learning support for the beekeepers through the cooperative establishment process.  The workshops involved a mix of collaboration, brainstorming, group work, among other activities. These workshops took place over several weeks at the Honey Bee Foundation’s Eco-Theater in Oude Molen Eco Village, the Manenberg’s People Center in Manenberg, and the Overstrand Training Institute in Hermanus.

The workshops conducted focused on completing/on the completion of the following requirements:

  • Founder’s Meeting:  Agenda and Minutes
  • Determining a board of directors and corresponding roles
  • All legal documentation and forms (CR1, CR5, CR8)
  • Constitution
  • Business Plan



To help develop the beekeepers’ business knowledge and skills, we felt the most appropriate method was learning through experience.  After determining all of the necessary procedures to establishing a co-operative, we encouraged the beekeepers to practice making the necessary phone calls to suppliers and other contacts, writing portions of the business plan in a professional tone, thinking critically through all business planning, and conducting formal cooperative meetings.  We wanted to serve as support throughout the intimidating process to instill confidence and reassurance.

Working Through the Paperwork in Hermanus

For confusing and complex tasks, we worked together to find guidance and answers from our available resources. Additionally, typing practice was utilized through the beekeepers’ typing of potential label stories as well as practiced in the downtime at our Hermanus retreat.



First Labeling of Honey Jars

The ultimate goal of our project is to help the cooperative to become sustainable. For this reason, we helped the beekeepers develop skills and tools to ensure their success in business. We described the potential situations which require these specific skills. For instance, we explained how taking notes is useful for meeting minutes and financial documentation. We encouraged brainstorming sessions in which the beekeepers categorized their business goals into time intervals, thus created a useful roadmap for the business. Our team also stressed the importance of networking skills to reach out to potential customers and learn about training programs.  Through collaborated research, we helped the beekeepers find detailed instructions on how to create cooperative forms and their constitution. Together, we  created a timeline which included key actions needed for expansion and cost analysis for business operations. All the useful information on cooperative forms and timeline were included on our website to serve as a guideline for future entrepreneurs.