Honey, I saved the bees!

Honey, I saved the bees!
Honey, I saved the bees!

Amit Godse quit his high-paying software job with a large MNC to save the honeybees. His team removes and relocates the beehives without killing the bees. This young man from Pune (India) has an interesting story to share with My Zen Path readers.

In this first MyZenPath Exclusive I have personally met and interviewed Amit and sharing his story here. I am glad it is starting with Amit Godse, a first-generation entrepreneur who is not only following his own heart, but also saving the honeybees which are crucial for the environment.

Amit’s story is quite intriguing because he quit his job instinctively to learn more about honeybees in order to save them. He learnt about bees, relocating their beehives, he learnt about building his own business over the years as he stayed with the question that disturbed him: Can I do something for these honeybees which get killed unnecessarily?

Background

Amit’s father worked for a PSU and his job required him to relocate in various parts of the country often. As a result, Amit has lived in different cities in India including Raipur, Mumbai, Pune and Orissa. Having stayed in multiple cities for years, Amit has better understanding of people coming from different backgrounds & cultures.

He completed his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Raipur and worked for Capgemini as a Software Engineer for 5 years before he quit. He found dissatisfaction growing inside him in his corporate job as it was not meaningful and he wanted to do something different.

At one point, Amit was also a volunteer in the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement.

Turning Point

Around March 2013, Amit’s witnessed killing of thousands of honeybees as the pest control agency used insecticide and removed the beehive from their apartment. To his dismay, he discovered that this work was classified under pest control and obviously, it was carried out without any concern whatsoever for the bees. The killing of thousands of bees really disturbed him as he wondered if it was really necessary to kill them. He wondered if they could have somehow removed the beehive without killing the bees. The question stayed with him for sometime.

Amit had gone to Mahabaleshwar to explore natural, organic farming and found some information there about bee-keeping. Somehow, bees kept coming back to Amit.

While discussing it with him, he also mentioned that his close friend from school died in an accident as he fell down from the train. His friend’s death made him seriously ponder about life’s uncertainty and what he really wanted to do with his life. His discussion reminded me of Candy Chang’s insightThinking about death clarifies your life. Amit decided to quit his job to explore if he could somehow save the honeybees and he decided to learn more about them.

The Initial Journey

Amit’s father was understanding and supportive, though his mother was a bit sceptical. His father also helped him financially and allowed him to do whatever he felt like doing. However, Amit also mentioned that at that time his parents would have been happier if he had gone back to his high-paying software job instead of spending time with honeybees.

After quitting his job, Amit completed a course in bee-keeping in Mahabaleshwar and another certificate course about honeybees at Central Bee Research & Training Institute (CBRTI) in Pune. During his training at CBRTI, he realized that mostly people were interested in honeybee farming and getting more honey, they were not much concerned about the wild bees. The honeybees are getting killed in large numbers due to insecticides that pest control agencies use in urban area, and also due to improper techniques used for extracting the honey in the rural areas. Amit kept on thinking about those wild honeybees as nobody else was doing anything with them.

Along with his trainings, Amit continued to explore and experiment on his own. He figured out that beehives can be relocated without killing the honeybees and thus, honeybees can be rehabilitated successfully. Amit teamed up with a friend from CBRTI course, Srujan Kulkarni and started his work of removing the beehives without killing the bees. Amit also mentioned that the real life work was rather different from what they had learnt in their courses. They were told that it is best to remove the beehive during day, but in practice he believes that it is best done in the night when all the bees are back in the beehive.

Having followed his love for honeybees passionately, Amit has many such insights about honeybees and honey. He also believes that like most other living creatures, honeybees also don’t want to abandon their next generation: the eggs, the larvae and the pupae in the beehive to die! He also educated me about the colour of the honey – it is determined by the colour of the flower the nectar predominantly comes from, and it could be anything from white to black. The unifloral honey from Lichee flowers is white while unifloral honey from Carom flowers (ajwain in Hindi) is almost black. It is impossible to get 100% unifloral honey, but if the majority of the nectar exceeds 45%, it is known as unifloral honey and may acquire colour depending on the flowers.

Amit Godse handling honeybee colony
Amit Godse handling honeybee colony

Amit continued his work with Srujan in 2014 and improved their technique incrementally to ensure that they save maximum honeybees while relocating the beehive. He trained tribal and other people extracting honey in the rural areas to ensure that they don’t kill the honeybees. As Amit asserts, using scientific techniques they can get up to four times more honey without killing the honeybees or without destroying the entire beehive. Slowly his work started picking up and he started getting calls for relocating the beehives from various parts of Pune.  Though he was getting some work in those days, it was not very lucrative and he had to ensure that he kept his expenses minimal and he carried on his work passionately. He had his own limitations as the duo did not have enough equipments and own mini-truck for relocating the beehives. He relocated small bees (Apis florea bee) using his motorbike.

The Entrepreneurial Learning Curve

Amit Godse does not belong to a business family and he did not even think of a profitable business model for his work initially. However, in 2015 he became serious about transforming his work to a sustainable, bigger business. He joined Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) at SIMS in Jan 2015 to learn more about building a business. Later in 2015, he was guided by deAsra foundation that helped him to prepare business plan, its proposal and apply for loans under various government schemes. After that he was accepted for the grooming program at iCreate in Ahmedabad. He learnt a lot about focusing on specific products and services, creating value and building profitable business through these programs. Initially he wanted to do many things with the honeybees but had very little idea about actually developing a promising business around them. After these programs he realized that he should focus on few aspects and do them well.

In 2015, he also got media coverage as many local and national newspapers covered his work with honeybees. His phone number went viral after the media coverage and he gets innumerable calls these days for relocating the beehives.

Recently he had an opportunity to serve some influential clients including divisional commissioner of Pune and all of those influential clients were very happy to learn about the nature of his work. Moreover, they have promised to help him whenever he needs any help. He is already getting many enquiries from other cities such as Bangalore, Ahmedabad asking him if he could offer his service in those cities but he does not yet have the bandwidth to offer his service in other cities.

Now his parents are happy & quite supportive after realizing the potential and the buzz around the honeybees and all the praise their son is getting.

The Road Ahead

Beeman Amit Godse
Beeman Amit Godse

Amit has recently incorporated his company Bee Basket Enterprises Private Limited with few friends that he met during his entrepreneurial programs. One of them is a hotel-management guy and they are planning to come up with some honey based products. He is also planning to form a society that will train tribals to collect honey without harming the honeybees. His company would buy that honey from them – making it socially responsible enterprise empowering the tribals.

Saving honeybees is extremely critical for our environment, we won’t survive for long if the honeybees disappear. They had sent a proposal to Ministry of Environment and Prime Minister Narendra Modi  for conserving the bees in the cities and declaring honeybee as the national insect back in 2014, but they haven’t heard anything yet from the ministry or the Prime Minister.

Amit’s journey with Bee Basket Enterprises Private Limited has just begun and he has a long way to go. They are still facing challenges in terms of lack of adequate funds – Amit has applied for loans under various government schemes last year, but he hasn’t received any funding yet. They need their own mini-truck or similar vehicle, rappelling instruments and few employees to carry out the relocation of the beehives efficiently. They cannot procure the instruments or hire people unless they have sufficient funds. They will need more funds for producing honey based food products – and lack of funds is their major challenge now! Their work is environmentally crucial but apparently there are no schemes which would finance their venture quickly for conserving the honeybees. Amit is hopeful and exploring other options for funding – he is keen to work it out! After all, entrepreneurship is all about overcoming challenges, it is not easy but it is fulfilling!

Amit is an ISFP (I requested him to take MBTI) – they live to find ways to push their passions and it is quite obvious from his journey so far. It also explains some of his spontaneous decisions and getting bored in a 9-to-5 corporate job.

I find Amit quite courageous – he quit his job instinctively to explore if he could save the honeybees. He was serious enough to learn about the honeybees first and later about entrepreneurship. Moreover, he didn’t quit even though the work wasn’t lucrative. He hung in there, continuing learning and experimenting to fulfil his dream. He has been working on it for almost last 3 years and he has learnt his lessons through the initial hurdles. I am sure he would find a way to take his Bee Basket Enterprises to the heights that he envisages for his venture. It won’t be long before his venture takes off like a flight!

I am wishing him all the success in his endeavours and hoping that I’d have a chance to feature bigger story for him in the future! 🙂


Contacting Amit Godse:

Since many of you have asked, I am sharing Amit’s contact details with his consent –

Phone: (+91) 9920 -698  778

 

  • Sonal G

    Nice. Par bande ki contact details de dete toh it would have been easier to contact him. Not sure how to even Google for his phone number. There are many people by his name

    • I have shared his contact details now with his consent. Do check!

  • Anjali Tejani

    Hi Manish, My name is Anjali and I stay in Mumbai, one of our neighbour wanted to destroy beehive in our building, few other neighbours protested and somehow were able to save the beehive. After some research, I happen to come across the above article and tried contacting Amit Godse but it seemed that this number is not of Amit (maybe the man was a worker or something)…

    I need advise how to save the beehive from the neighbour who wants to get rid of the same, as for him it is a nuisance…Please assist to save the beehive.

    • @anjalitejani:disqus

      Amit has confirmed his number, please check!

  • Amit G

    Hi Guys,

    You can contact me on 9920698778….my no is live.

    you can find me over facebook too

    https://www.facebook.com/amit.godse123