Delio is a young entrepreneur from San Pedro department in Paraguay. In order to pay for his university studies, he needed to find a way to make an income or he would be unable to continue his education. The lack of financial resources threatened to impede his goals, prompting him to seek innovative solutions.
While exploring different options, Delio met a man who kept bees. Intrigued, he struck up a conversation and learnt all about the fascinating world of bees. It was then that the idea of venturing into bee-keeping took hold of him since it did not require a large financial investment, and the bees, the main component, were readily available in his rural community.
At that time, grasslands were often being set on fire to make way for agricultural land, endangering the bees, so as well as starting a honey production business, Delio also wanted to ensure the bees survival.
Using the little money he had set aside for his university tuition fees, Delio bought carpentry tools and the materials he needed to build beehives. Despite lacking any experience in the subject, he immersed himself in YouTube tutorials to learn how to make the beehives and began rescuing wild bees, aware that in order for his business to work, he needed to save the bees and preserve the local biodiversity.
This is how his business, ‘Apis Dorado’ (Bee Golden) was born. As he started to develop his fledging business, Delio heard about Plan International’s Sape’a project, which helps young people grow their business ventures and access employment opportunities. Joining the programme, Delio took part in a business planning course, as well as training sessions on financial education, branding, and value creation.
“At the beginning, I had no idea that Plan had a programme that helps young entrepreneurs. I was invited to join, and I liked it from the beginning. I went all out. I didn’t even know that I was already doing something innovative, but Plan’s team liked it because it was something that fitted in with what they were asking for,” Delio explains.
As part of the project, Delio developed a proposal which he successfully used to apply for seed capital to grow his business. His proposal focused on three areas of development; generating a bigger income, encouraging new entrepreneurs in the area, and promoting sustainable practices to protect the environment and the bees, which play a vital role in production, food, and the
“It was very useful because I could think outside the box,” says Delio. “Apis Dorado started with just rescuing bees and producing honey, now we not only sell honey, but we also sell beehives made of high quality wood. We also sell ready-to-produce box combo hives, harvesting and consultancy services. We do everything.”
Today, Delio has his own YouTube channel where he uploads educational tutorial videos so that other young entrepreneurs like him can access free training courses. “Young people want to progress on their own, creating their own business and their own source of income. And that for me is fantastic.”
Crediting the Sape’a project with the growth of his business, Delio says the training courses and seed capital meant he was able to shape his dream. “For me, Sape’a is one of the best programmes that Plan International could have because it gives a direct vision to entrepreneurs. And with Plan’s idea of helping to leverage entrepreneurs, we are going to grow much more.”
“The big difference between the Delio of the past and the Delio of today is mainly the mindset. In addition, not to mention all the new knowledge that I have acquired, thanks to the Sape’a programme. I am very happy. It really was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Plan International was the best way to grow my business.”