Business Gateway helps beekeeping school create buzz

A BEEKEEPING school successfully launched and improved its search engine optimization (SEO) rankings after the owner received support, advice and funding referral from West Dunbartonshire Council Business Support, Business Gateway and DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme.

Based in Loch Lomond, family business The school of bees is a non-profit organization that aims to make beekeeping fun and accessible to all ages. It aims to educate the public about the benefits of beekeeping for both individual and environmental reasons through a range of beekeeping experiences including summer schools and beekeeping safaris.

The school offers a variety of activities including a two-day weekend bee school course which covers the basics of getting started as a beekeeper, including theory and two practical sessions involving conducting an inspection of hive. Bee safaris offer the perfect day out for families and consist of an introduction to bees, a honey tasting session from different nectar sources and an inspection of a live bee hive.

Founder and owner Heather Jackson, a former senior project manager, started keeping bees as a hobby more than seven years ago. She always wanted to open a beekeeping school to share her knowledge and encourage others to get involved in the activity, but lacked the practical knowledge to start a business.

Armed with a unique business idea, Heather contacted Business Gateway to help turn her vision into reality. Heather accessed a suite of startup services from Business Gateway, including one-on-one assistance from a dedicated business advisor, as well as advice on her business plan, financing, marketing and networking opportunities.

Presentations made via Business Gateway have enabled The Bee School to successfully access a start-up grant from West Dunbartonshire Council, as well as a capital grant which helped to purchase 17 beehives and two combinations of beehives. bees. The new hives were essential to The Bee School’s success in obtaining beekeeping accreditation, which requires a minimum of 30 hives.

Through Business Gateway, Heather also benefited from DigitalBoost support, which included a comprehensive digital health check to determine which areas of their digital presence needed improvement. This support and new knowledge has been instrumental in improving The Bee School’s social media marketing and SEO performance, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in brand awareness and led to a record sale of safaris. bees this summer.

Through Business Gateway’s networking opportunities and using the advisor’s previous business contacts and network, The Bee School has also recently purchased 6 more bee colonies, which have been essential for Heather and her apprentice, Katie, to run weekend and summer bee schools.

Heather Jackson, owner of The Bee School, said: “I realized there was a serious lack of beekeeping provision for young people in my area and I wanted to do something about it, but I needed support and expert business advice to help me get started.”

“My advisor has been fantastic throughout the process and the DigitalBoost support we have received has been especially beneficial to the growth of The Bee School. We are now one of the top hits when you search for beekeeping schools on Google , which is an important development for us, as we were previously listed around page 50.”

Matthew Wheeler, Advisor to Business Gateway, said: “The Bee School is an example of how Business Gateway can help businesses start and scale their operations effectively. It’s fantastic to see how popular Heather’s offering has been with the local community over the summer months. We will continue to support The Bee School as it expands, and I look forward to seeing the business grow in the months and years to come.

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