Startup Founder Story: Leigh-Kathryn Bonner of Bee Downtown
Leigh-Kathryn Bonner isn’t your average 24-year-old. The fourth-generation beekeeper started her company in 2013, when she was a junior at NC State. She was recently named as one of Southern Living Magazine’s Southerner of the Year. While interning at the American Tobaccos Campus, she asked the owner if she could install a rooftop beehive, since honeybees tend to have reproductive success in urban environments.
When other businesses began asking her to start hives on their campuses, she took a leap and turned her passion project into a full-time job. For the last few months they have been part of the Engage accelerator in Atlanta. Bee Downtown installs and maintains hives on properties for businesses, rebuilding the honeybee population while providing a full-service sustainability and employee engagement program to corporations.
“Every day I wake up and think, today is for the bees,” said Leigh-Kathryn. “And at the end of the day, I know I’ll wake up and do it all again, because I’m passionate about this and want to make a lasting change in the world…”