Former music video producer Warren Bader set up Plan Bee, a beehive management service which also produces honey and other hive products, to help reverse the decline in the bee population. He gave an inspirational talk at the 2016 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards about his journey collaborating with academics, which started with Interface.
What inspired you to set up your own business?
I was in film and television and made music videos for people like Tina Turner and Michael Jackson, working with some of the world’s best directors. I became increasingly concerned about the bee population when I got into allotments and started growing Scottish heritage fruit trees – they need to be pollinated, so I became a bee keeper and just fell in love with it.
Where do you want to take the business - regional, Scotland-wide or global?
Global – it is nationwide now, from Cornwall to Aberdeenshire, and we have a small base in Sussex, but I plan to take it global.
What was the issue/hurdle you wanted to overcome by working with academics?
We had two initial projects with two different universities. The first was with the University of Glasgow to prove that the health benefits of heather honey were on a par with Manuka Honey so that we could use this information to market it internationally. The second was that we wanted to analyse the potential benefits of using QR codes and augmented reality on labels to help highlight the provenance of the honey. Abertay University were our partners. We have worked with some amazing academics.
What benefits did the collaboration bring to your business?
Interface has provided me with the confidence to approach academia. It has opened up a raft of opportunities -we have three more collaborative projects in the pipeline.
What impact has it had in terms of growth/jobs/new products/financial savings?
Increased productivity – we have been able to develop new products, and to innovate. We have always generated something out of different projects.
What gets you up on a Monday morning?
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?