Richaydo Farquharson: A leader in youth entrepreneurship
GUAVA, mango, star apple and ackee trees create a thick hedge, hiding the buzz of activity at the home of Richaydo Farquharson in Porus, Manchester.
At only 14 years old, the young Rastafarian is already operating his own business.
He produces some 126 gallons of his branded 'Jamaica Gold' honey, three times per year, from the 14 colonies in his apiary — operated at the home he shares with his mother Charmaine Stobbs and nine-year-old brother Addwyn Richards.
Farquharson's main customers are residents in his community, as well as members of staff and students at Porus High School, which he attends just a few metres from his home.
Bee farming is a "stinging" but profitable operation for the youngster, who balances his time carefully between high school and his occupation. He wakes up long before sunrise consistently to tend to his apiary and attends to the bees when he returns from school. Then he completes his schoolwork.
To Farquharson, honey production is not a simple teenage preoccupation; he means business. And, like a determined spider dedicated to its task, the teenager has woven an intricate business plan, outlining the heights to which he intends to take his operation.
"Sometimes I'm stressed. I get too many stings," he says jovially.
"But it's very profitable," he admits, underscoring the heavy demand for his home-grown product.
Much of the intended expansion has already started, as the teenager has created a sample of natural lotions, hair food and lip balm items from the honeycomb — with help from a family friend, and he is now testing the demand for those products.
He is also set to produce a "honey straw", a tasty and nutritious sweet, which he will introduce to the school's tuck shop in the next school year. This will require a larger apiary and Richaydo has factored in a few more colonies to expand the operation, which he hopes to increase to 50 by 2016.
The display of such thoughtfulness led to Richaydo's business plan being awarded the Best Business Plan trophy at the recent Young Entrepreneurs "I am the Change" camp. The camp — organised by the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF) and its partner Digicel Foundation — was held two weeks ago at the University of the West Indies.
Farquharson also walked away with a cash prize to assist with the capital for the expansion of his business.
"Richaydo has always been interested in marketing and talks about developing his own business," his doting mother said.
A farmer by profession, she introduced her son to beekeeping at age nine.
"I believe that this programme has really helped him. He is more interested in his operation," Stobbs added, praising the recently ended camp for the values and skills it encourages the students to develop.
Farquharson sells his Jamaica Gold honey in three sizes: a small 250 millilitre size; a 550 millilitre medium bottle and a litre bottle.
"Honey is very nutritious," he affirmed, emphasising that his bees are exposed to a variety of fruit trees and other flowering plants available on his mother's one-acre property.
"Honey is a natural product and it helps to boost the immune system and is good for many illnesses," Farquharson noted.
He plans to register the business during the first phase of the expansion, which is to begin next month.
"He is an enterprising youngster and an excellent student," said Michael Stewart, principal of Porus High School and a pleased Jamaica Gold customer. "His product is excellent and he is just so excited about what he does. We are very proud of him and will continue to support his venture as a school family."
Kimala Bennett, managing director of The Business Lab which manages the entrepreneurship programme on behalf of MBSF and Digicel Foundation, echoed his sentiment.
"It's exciting when our students are allowed to explore their talents and find a niche in which they can shine. Richaydo was the youngest student at the inaugural entrepreneurial camp in 2011," she said.
"Therefore, like proud parents, we have watched his growth, and, indeed it makes us confident and reaffirms our Vision 2030 goals. We only need to provide the right foundation and sustained support to encourage our young people to explore their creative potential," said Bennett.