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'Uneducated' Grandad Who Set Up Bee Business Sells It For £100 Million

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'Uneducated' Grandad Who Set Up Bee Business Sells It For £100 Million

An 'uneducated' grandad who created a bee business from the kitchen table of his council house aged 25 has sold it for more than £100 million ($137m) to a US company.

Steve Ryan started his bee product company in 1992 with his late wife, Bea.

It came off the back of his 'fascination' for honeybees and now he could buy himself an entire island in the Bahamas if he wanted to.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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The 63-year-old's company Bee Health - which is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and was recently sold to Dallas-based wellness firm INW - has been ranked in the top 200 of Britain's companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

The company sells a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements alongside its original product Propolis, a natural substance collected by honeybees which contains tree resin, essential oils, waxes and bioflavonoids and is thought to help with a variety of ailments.

Speaking to the Mirror about how it feels to be a multimillionaire, Steve said: "No bloody different."

When it came to him explaining what he's going to spend his dosh on, it's not going to be much.

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He went on: "My bank manager said what is the first thing I'm going to buy. But I don't need anything. I've got everything. I've got six race horses. But I will be on an island in Asia in December until February."

Can't say we blame him for a second.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Talking about the secrets to his success, he added: "Sheer hard work and having a pair of balls bigger than my brain most of the time. An entrepreneur is always a gambler."

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Steve went on to explain just how the company grew: "I got a council house when I was 25 and that's how we started the job. We got two twin tubs from an auction, one for spinning honey and one for spinning resin.

"We opened a honey farm tourist attraction in Scarborough and bought a small factory to start producing products to sell in the shop.

"When we first started it was crazy, we'd do the honey farm in the day, then at night I'd go out beekeeping to get more honey for the shelves for the next day.

"Then the supplement side really took off and sales went through the roof. From being an uneducated person it's just sheer hard graft and taking a gamble."

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Credit: Beehealth.com
Credit: Beehealth.com

Mr Ryan was able to do the deal during a pandemic because the government will allow company executives to travel overseas to do business if it's in excess of £100 million. That'd be a nice reason to be going abroad, wouldn't it?

But don't worry, all of the company's 360 employees are safe and secure in their jobs, including Steve's 26-year-old son Lewis who will continue to work as chief executive.

Featured Image Credit: Beehealth.com

Topics: News, UK

Rebecca Shepherd
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