Starting your own business is one of the first of many leaps an entrepreneur will ever take. It is also the leap that is the most important because it will determine whether or not you follow your dreams to own your own business or continue dreaming and wondering ‘what if?’
Today I interviewed one of the Grant Recipients of the CARCIP Business Incubator Programme. He came in to see me directly after a hard day work fully dressed in his gears. You may recognize him as the guy with the horses or the horse man as he’s called by the kids. His real name? Royan Smith, owner and manager of Bonanza Stables, located in Mardigras and surrounded by mountains, fields and a beautiful lake. His services include horseback tours, horseback riding lessons, carriage rides and rides to birthday parties, fundraisers and weddings etc. With the use of his newly developed website he hopes to give persons the ability to make reservations online and choose personalize tours around the island of Grenada.
Thirty-three (33) year old Royan started his own business since he was 18 years old and this is what he had to say.
INTERVIEW WITH ROYAN SMITH. OWNER OF BONANZA STABLES, MARDIGRAS ST. GEORGE
What was life like before your decision to start your own business?
Growing up life was always hard. My parents never had what they wanted. They were employed but they were employees who were always living hand to mouth. I never wanted that for myself. I wanted to own my own business because I never wanted to work for anyone. I knew this at a very young age. During my teenage years however, I got distracted, I was the type of kid that wore my pants below my bottom and who got into fights. (Moments that I am not proud of in my life). In fact, I even got into trouble with the law but someone saw something in me and gave me a second chance. I used this chance to make something of my life. It was then that I decided to start planting my own crops and even going to the market to sell them. I did this for a lot of years.
I eventually received a loan of $10,000 from the Ministry of Youth and the money was used to purchase a tractor. A couple years later, I received some funds that was used to purchase two (2) horses. These two horses was used to help out in the land, as well as, offer rides to kids in my village. At first I started to offer rides for free but then I saw that I was able to make a little extra money if I charge a fee, so I began charging kids $2.00 per ride and every $2.00 added up and eventually the horses began to bring more money in than the farm. I then decided to apply for another loan and this time I received a $25,000 loan which I used to purchased more horses and a carriage. It is then that I eventually branched out to offering rides with and without the carriage, at events and to the tourists during the tourist season.
What made you decide to choose the line of business you are in?
I chose farming because I wanted to stay close to nature. It was a skill I learned at a very young age from my Grandmother. Once I started, I realized that I was able to sell enough to make money and still feed myself and give away to persons. The addition of the horses was something I did because I loved horses. Additionally, Grenada did not have many horses as a form of entertainment when I started, so once I got them everyone was so amazed.
What sparked your love for horses?
As a kid growing up I watched a horse show on TV called Bonanza and I loved it so much that I would tell people that I would one day own horses. No one took me serious off course, and most persons thought it was a joke, but look at me today. It is also the reason why I named my first horse Bonanza and my business Bonanza Stables. My passion for horses has put me in a position where I can not only make my own money but create employment. So far I have employed three (3) persons and plan to employ much more as my business expands.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced thus far and how have you overcome them?
My biggest challenge has always been money but I must admit, I have been blessed along the way. I would have never gotten through for a loan in the bank or credit union because I had nothing to use as security. Thankfully, I received 2 loans through a program from the Ministry of Youth and a grant of $150,000XCD from the CARCIP Business Development Program. The Grant from CARCIP assisted me in getting the equipment needed to make my business more marketable, more convenient, safer and more successful through the use of a website and equipment. I have gears to protect myself and I now have a trailer to transport my horses to different destinations hassle free.
What advice do you have for young persons who may be reading this now?
My advice to person who want to start their own business is don’t go into business because you see someone doing it and you think they are making money. Do what you love so that every day you go to work you’ll be having fun while making money.
Is there anything you wish to use the opportunity to say?
I would like to say a special thanks to Minister Emalyn Pierre. She was the one that saw something in me and gave me a second chance at becoming a better person. To this day her assistance and support has never wavered. I would also like to say a special thank you to CARCIP for the grant awarded to me. It truly has made a difference in my business and provided it with the framework it needs to succeed.