Our Findings

Establishing a Relationsihp with the Beekeepers

One major surprise in establishing a relationship was how quickly the beekeepers were willing to befriend us.  Even from the first time we met, the beekeepers were not afraid of showing us their personalities and joking with us. We found that their comical approach to meeting us was very helpful in breaking the ice. It was not very long until they were more than willing to discuss their history both on an individual scale and a group scale. From their willingness to openly share their background, a story was collectively made describing the cooperative’s history, values, feats, and credibility, to be marketed with their products and services.  Additional successes achieved through building a relationship include:

  • Improved group meeting attendance,
  • New enthusiasm and drive,
  • Taking personal initiative, and
  • Regained faith in the co-operative.

Traveling Together in Dominique's Bakkie

Determining the Status of the Urban Beekeeping Project

Networking with the organizations linked to the project revealed a few things about the status of the Urban Beekeeping Project. For one, seven beekeepers had decided to pursue the formation of a cooperative. This would shift the focus of the project from being one of weighing business options to one of decided business pursuit. Thus, the role of our project group would be facilitators rather than consultants as we had originally anticipated.

The main concern we had for the Urban Beekeeping Project was that it had become stagnant. At the time of our arrival, there had not been major progress in the project for four months. A few reasons for this being the City’s trouble locating a site for the beekeepers’ hives and OTI’s location being two hours distance from the beekeepers, hindering their access to business training resources. These major difficulties decelerated the project enough to cause the beekeepers to begin losing interest. This, in turn, harmed attendance and participation and caused further slowing of the project.

Left to Right: Santiago Isaza, Evy Simsek, Cindy Jacobs, and Adam Cadwallader

Establish a Cooperative

Through the process of conducting the different workshops, many important milestones were reached. Through the beekeepers’ hard work, perseverance, and dedication, they managed to complete the vast majority of the goals laid out at the beginning stage of the project. The time spent at various locations proved successful as it led to the following accomplishments:

  • Project timeline and goals,
  • Founders meeting agenda,
  • Establishment of the first board of directors,
  • CR1, CR5, and CR8 form completion,
  • Drafting of cooperative’s constitution, and
  • Drafting of business plan.

It proved difficult at times to retain the beekeepers’ undivided attention. The workshops were labour intensive, time consuming, and required continuous effort. At times, such as when we were drafting the constitution, we all experienced loss of energy and focus.  Coffee and Tea breaks were implemented to break the routine and keep everyone motivated. Once all the requirements were fulfilled, all that remained was to submit the paperwork and await the legal certification.

When one of the beekeepers filed the name reservation for the co-operative, we discovered that the forms we were provided with were out of date.  Fortunately, the Department of Trade Industry was willing to aid the beekeepers in filing the new form.

Hard at Work in Hermanus

Developing the Beekeepers’ Business Knowledge and Skills

The best part of working to develop the beekeepers’ business knowledge and skills was witnessing their eagerness and willingness to learn.  Many of the seven were instantly driven to improve their business capabilities and utilized our group in any way to fulfil this development.  From completing the co-operative’s paperwork and additional necessary tasks, knowledge of business and numerous business skills were successfully developed:

  • Professional communication,
  • Planning and organizational,
  • Professional writing, and Typing skills.

Additionally, the development of the beekeepers’ abilities through practice and first-hand experience boosted their confidence and comfort level.  One beekeeper explained that from the intense practicing of business writing: “I am a much better writer than I thought I was.”  Now that the group has confronted the tasks for cooperative establishment, they are better prepared to face future obstacles.  Not only did the beekeepers grow from experiencing the tedious process, but our group learned alongside the beekeepers every step of the way.  Working cohesively with the beekeepers, we shared the same questions and joined each other in searching for resources to provide answers or examples.  Our group has collectively agreed that our experiences with the Cape Flats Honey’s cooperative process will prove beneficial in our own future business endeavours.

Developing a Sustainable Support System

Our networking efforts resulted in beneficial relationships with different organizations.  The cooperative signed a lease with The Business Place Philippi to place the beehives on the premises, the beekeepers called possible product providers to ask for quotations, and The Honeybee Foundation agreed to become the provider of wholesale, jarred honey until the beekeepers have the ability to function as their own producer. After discussions, we determined that the beekeepers would need additional land and greater startup capital to implement all the operations they wish to pursue. Due to these resource constraints, many prospective services were postponed to a time when the business is further developed. Additionally, we created this website to share our project experience and guide future entrepreneurs.

Group Gathering at Overstrand Training Institute in Hermanus