Grandfather who started business in council house sells business for £ 100million
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Ryan can now afford Bahamian island and private Falcon jet after “pure transplant and gamble” saw his Bee Health business go from council house kitchen to $ 100million sale pounds sterling
Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)
A grandfather who started a beekeeping business from his consultancy house’s kitchen table has just sold it for over £ 100million.
Steve Ryan, 63, told the Mirror how his obsession with ‘fascinating bees’ made him a multimillionaire.
He just sold Bridlington-based Bee Health to Dallas-based US company INW.
But he won’t divulge the exact figure although he admits he can now afford an island in the Bahamas and a private Falcon jet.
When asked what it was like to be a multimillionaire, he laughed, “Not really different.
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Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)
“In the process, we ended up being more than double what we thought we would get for this.
“But I thought that looking at the whole picture, they were getting a pretty good deal.
“My bank manager told me what’s the first thing I’m going to buy. But I don’t need anything. I have everything. I have six racehorses.
“But I’ll be on an island in Asia in December until February.”
Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)
When asked for the key to his incredible success, he said: “Hard work and a pair of balls bigger than my brain most of the time. An entrepreneur is always a player.
Steve started his beekeeping business in 1992 with his late wife Bea Ryan after being introduced to bees during his night shift picking shoots.
“I started working out there to lose weight because I was 18 stone back then,” he said.
“I loved the idea of 100,000 workers working for free. Honey bees are fascinating and phenomenal insects.
“I had a town hall at the age of 25 and that’s how we started the work. We had two twin jars 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 for sale in the shop.
“When we started it was crazy, we were doing the honey farm during the day and then at night I would go out of beekeeping to get more honey for the shelves the next day. My wife was making scones for sale.
“Then the supplement side really took off and sales exploded.
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“To be an uneducated person is just a hard transplant and a gamble.”
Steve says he got his work ethic from his mom and dad in Liverpool.
His father drove Pylon rigs and his mother was busy having seven boys by the age of 23.
“They would tell us you have to work and pay your way,” he said.
The company he sold supplies products to Holland & Barrett and is a major retailer of vitamins.
Bee Health, has been ranked in the top 200 UK companies with the fastest growing international sales.
Mr Ryan said he was able to close the deal because the government allowed company executives to travel abroad to do business if it was over £ 100million.
“The pandemic has overtaken us, it has plunged us into chaos. We were making 160 to 170 million tablets and capsules per week, ”he said.
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“The business has been so successful. We were making 50 million vitamin D every two weeks.
“I think people are a lot more aware of taking vitamins.
“It has been said that 72 percent of those who died coronavirus were deficient in vitamin D.
He said the Bridlington plant remained with the same 360 employees, including his 26-year-old son Lewis Ryan, who is general manager.
“I’m very, very proud of him, he’s a very smart kid,” he said.
His farewell gift was to several workers that he had given interest free loans of £ 10,000 for a house deposit. He forgave their debt.
The father of four, who has five grandchildren, said he would now go volunteering and consider mentoring young entrepreneurs.
His wife’s shares are in a family trust so that everyone can buy houses for their grandchildren and pay for their education.