Business Matters spent some time with Jez Rose, who is the behaviour insight advisor & founder of Bees for Business and found out what inspired him to start his buzzing business.
What do you currently do?
I’m a behaviour insight advisor speaking at conferences worldwide, broadcaster, author and bee farmer. Bees for Business provides honeybee hives for adoption and care for bees on behalf of some of the most iconic brands in Britain, providing them with their exclusive own-brand honey from their own adopted hive.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
After 13 years working all over the world in the corporate sector, I felt a heavy draw to get back to my countryside roots. My wife and I bought a dilapidated farm to test my theories on the impact of nature on health, well-being and behaviour and as part of that installed a single beehive. As we learnt more about the critical yet totally underrepresented role the honeybee plays and the tragic decline in their numbers, we installed more hives and have now committed to installing 250 over the next 5 years.
Who do you admire?
I admire a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. In fact, most people I meet, I admire in one respect or another. Education and creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson stands out for me, for so earnestly and simply articulating the need to challenge what we think we know and his dedication to improving education.
However, British farmers have to be at the top of my list. Farming is responsible for less than 5 per cent of the country’s income; an insignificant amount in any money counter’s eyes, yet we rely totally on them for almost all of the food we consume.
I admire their continued dedication to carry out tasks they are passionate about and guard with nostalgia in the face of adversity, red tape and an almost total lack of Government support.
Looking back, is there anything you’d have done differently?
When we first began Bees for Business, there was a need to guarantee a return because of the significant investment. A beehive can cost £450 to put on the ground before accounting for maintenance, colony support costs and of course labour – each hive needs checking weekly in the summer.
In the beginning we lost sight of why we were doing it, but now conservation, biodiversity and our core purpose of increasing the honeybee population is the single driver: it makes everything so much less stressful and enjoyable.
What defines your way of doing business?
Ethical, sustainable, British and, where we can, organic. We have won awards this year for our commitment to each of those aspects. Our business has to be 100 per cent British, 100 per cent ethical and our drive is to always 100 per cent do the right thing.
The one thing that binds us all to this world is nature. As a population, we are constantly striving to find ways to consistently make less impact, whilst simultaneously improving the environment. Biodiversity is the golden thread that runs throughout everything we do – it’s fun and immeasurably rewarding.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Remember the benefits; never listen to people who say something won’t work – resolve to make it work. Whatever you’ve set out to do, remember that it starts and ends with you.