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Beekeeper strives for the New American Dream

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Daniel Oduntan, an entrepreneur with the International Rescue Committee's Microbusiness Connection Center, stands with IRC staff and family members at the New American Dream Lab event.
Daniel Oduntan (center, blue) stands with his daughter and IRC staff, including (left to right) Dibabe Hope Newman, Joshua Lloyd, Kit Stebbins and Shailaja Akkapeddi. Photo: Vikram Ravi/IRC

On May 2nd, three New American entrepreneurs pitched their businesses and future ambitions at the second annual New American Dream Lab event held by the Women’s Business Center at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City’s Microbusiness Connection Center in South Salt Lake. Entrepreneurs, referred by community organizations like the Suazo Center and the IRC, competed for the $1,000 grand prize: beekeeper, educator, and consultant, Daniel Oduntan, referred by the IRC’s microbusiness team, ended the night as the victor. The other entrepreneurs would not leave empty handed, each leaving with $500 grants to further their business endeavors.

Daniel first started working with the IRC in Salt Lake City during the fall of 2017, after the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund recommended him for a small business loan. A month later—and a few sessions with the IRC’s microbusiness team—Daniel founded Bee-Craft Consult, LLC with a vision to be a “worthy example for making a living through beekeeping, empowering others, and sustaining our natural environment.

“The IRC is so wonderful,” Daniel mentioned at the New American Dream Lab event. “My microbusiness coordinator, Shailaja [Akkapeddi], advised and connected me. I really enjoy the continued support given by the IRC.”

Daniel, who arrived from Nigeria, a country in West Africa, has kept bees for over 25 years. He started in his home country after studying agriculture and then receiving his master’s degree in entomology, the study of insects. Later, Daniel ran a training school for novice beekeepers who were eager to learn from him.

Since arriving in the U.S. three years ago, Daniel’s work led him to travel the European continent—from Germany to Italy and Austria: countries with exceptional beekeeping practices. He has expanded his knowledge and improved his skills, increasing his passion for beekeeping right here in Utah.

You can learn more about Daniel’s business, Bee-Craft Consult, LLC, by visiting his website, beecraftconsult.com, or by following him on Facebook: Facebook.com/HoneyBeesGold/.

Learn more about the IRC in Salt Lake City’s microbusiness program and offering your unique skillset to budding new American entrepreneurs by emailing us at SaltLakeCity [at] rescue.org (subject: Microbusiness%20Program%20-%20Inquiry) .