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The Business of Bees

RESEARCH FIRST Samanci develops her products based on science, starting with research. COURTESY ASLI SAMANCI

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For Asli Samanci, who has always been interested in science, a career as a food scientist just made sense. “It combines everything,” she told TIME for Kids. “Biology, microbiology, and chemistry, all together.”

Now Samanci runs a company called Bee & You, selling health products made from propolis, a substance that bees produce.

Samanci thinks about every step of development for her company’s products. “When you become an entrepreneur entrepreneur a person who starts a business (noun) Walt's life as an entrepreneur began when he opened his first lemonade stand. after being a scientist,” she says, “you’re still a scientist.” So she follows a scientific process. First come research and development, and then the company does clinical studies to see how the products might work.

Success Story

Samanci was inspired to start her business by her son, who was often sick as a young child. A doctor recommended propolis, which has been found to fight bacteria. But Samanci wasn’t satisfied with the products she found on the market. So she decided to work directly with a beekeeper to create the product her son needed.

BUSY BEES Asli Samanci works directly with beekeepers to keep her business sustainable.

SILAS STEIN—PICTURE ALLIANCE/GETTY IMAGES

She still works with beekeepers. They focus on sustainability sustainability the ability to do something without causing permanent damage to the environment (noun) The sustainability of farmland can be improved with healthy farming techniques. . Within 10 years, her beekeeping partners have gone from managing about 50 hives to managing 300 or 400. “As they develop, they look after more bees,” Samanci says. “We are increasing the number of bees in the world. And that’s good for nature.”

Running a successful company while respecting nature’s well-being is “a win-win business model,” Samanci says. She advises all entrepreneurs and scientists to find that balance. “Combine sustainability and innovation,” she says. “Be good to yourself. Be good to nature. That’s how life should go on.”

Buzzing Ahead

Samanci advises aspiring scientists to look for growth areas when choosing their future career path. For example, “We need more food scientists and agricultural scientists,” she says. “In the future, we will have less water and less good-quality soil. So in agricultural innovation, finding ways to use less water and less soil but still [produce] good-quality, sustainable products will be an area of growth.”

And, Samanci emphasizes, there’s nothing more important than sustainability. “We have to [bring forth] something from nature,” she says, “in a sustainable way. Otherwise, nature will not give us any more.”