Case Studies

Ajani, Explore Enterprise

16th May 2024

With support from our Explore Enterprise programme, Ajani has been able to transform his lockdown gardening project into a thriving business venture.

Bored at home during the pandemic, Ajani (23) built his first greenhouse and started to grow herbs – parsley, rosemary, thyme and chives – to sell locally.

Since then, the Explore Enterprise programme has helped equip Ajani to dramatically scale up production and sales. He describes how the programme put him on the path to success by helping him understand how to plan and organise his business and his time.

‘They pushed me a lot in organization, I learned about always being prepared and always planning ahead. My farm was really accelerated by this organization,’ Ajani explains.

Today, Ajani’s business, Arcadia Farms, is thriving. His three greenhouses, fitted with automatic irrigation systems, can house over 12,000 seedlings at a time, and the farm is now bringing in six times as much income.

Enterprise and eggs

Explore Enterprise, delivered in Barbados through our partner Barbados Youth Business Trust, aims to support young entrepreneurs, whatever stage they are at, to develop their understanding of self-employment, and to launch or grow a successful business. Aimed at 18-30-year-olds, the programme provides free business training and expert mentor guidance.

Ajani’s long-term vision for his business is to supply a wide range of different products under the Arcadia Farms brand, and he is now taking his first steps into a new product line – eggs. He explains how the learning from the Explore Enterprise programme informed his approach.

‘I’m building my chicken coop now but I did about three months’ planning before I started building. I’m on day 16 of the build now and it’s moving along swiftly because I planned ahead. I know exactly what I’m doing each day.’

A good sport

But Arcadia Farms isn’t the only venture that is reaping the rewards of Ajani’s newfound business knowledge. He is also drawing on the management skills he learned in his role at Holder’s Hill Sports and Cultural Club – another enterprise, this time a non-profit, that he also founded.

Holder’s Hill is based on the site of a previous cricket club, St John The Baptist, which had closed down. ‘Where I come from is a cricket hotspot,’ Ajani explains, ‘seven or eight test players came through that club, and I play there too.’

Keen to give the grounds a new lease of life, and give a new generation the chance to play, Ajani set up a new club. Like Arcadia Farm, Holder’s Hill is also expanding. An under 16 programme started last season, alongside the senior team.

Coping with business and busyness

As the manager for both cricket teams, a final year university student, farm manager and  business owner, Ajani has a lot on his plate. Once again, he is drawing on the skills from the Explore Enterprise programme to help him manage.

‘There’s so much going on, that’s the biggest struggle,’ he explains. ‘When I wake up I deal with the plants, then school, then the plants again, then training. Every day I set aside that timeframe. My biggest problem was time management, and the programme suggested different things to try. This was the one that worked for me.’

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