With over ten years of work experience in the oil field coupled with a lack of appreciation and treated less than for his initiative and hard work. Treadstone Ltd founder Gyasi Williams is making strides with his Grow Box to encourage the movement of sustainable foods. Gyasi decided to take all his efforts and hardworking principals to creating his own business. “ To be honest, I have always had a hustling spirit, since junior sec selling VHS, magazines anything I could get my hands on; upon leaving school with no job, I would give lessons; sell old remodeled appliances, scrap metals. I always try to make my buck in any way”.
The raw numbers make for daunting reading. One in 10 people out of the current global population of 7.4 billion already goes hungry. Crop yields that soared in the decades after the Second World War are flat-lining, and the UN predicts there will be 2.3 billion more mouths to feed by 2050. In the Caribbean alone with a population of over 17 million, 7.5 million in 2014-16 documented as undernourished according to the UN report of CARICOM food insecurity.
With a longtime love for recycling, creativity and woodworking sustainable; In addition to his admiration for Wayne Ramsey’s woodworking for mere mortals, Gyasi decided to take a shot at using pallets to make furniture. “I was trying as a novice woodworker then I decided; let me do something that was woodworking and gardening in one and that is how I came to building the grow boxes, and the rest is history.” Since his victory in the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp in Trinidad his business started to gain traction “I have had at least 3-4 orders for grow boxes coming in every week or garden accessories like the benches or the tables”.
An additionally reward for winning the bootcamp, Gyasi received automatic entry into CCIC’s consortium in Trinidad & Tobago The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) hatchery program where he acquired training in the areas of business development, prototyping and access to the market.
Tell me about your innovation? How does it work?
Grow box is the taking something that somebody considered trash and turning it into something more desirable. It is the recycling and upcycling of old pallets to create a new life for food growth. The boxes will rot and turn into compost while some pallets are solely designed to be weather resistant.
How has Treadstone Ltd grown following the Hatchery program?
The hatchery program was very insightful; I learned a lot about prototyping, business model development and how to deal with various markets. Sales for our grow boxes has as increased in volumes instead of single. Though this is great to have a steady inflow of business the company currently focuses more concentrate on the development of recycled furniture and homegrown seasonings using the grow boxes. Some of the seasonings we now produce are tarragon, dill, basil, rosemary, and cilantro. Through the hatchery program, I have learned a lot about prototyping.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Well-being an entrepreneur so far I realize that I have to work more for the customers than for myself. As at times, I put my vision into what I am making, and I have come to learn it is better to tailor my creations or my products for the customers. As they know what they are looking for and willing to spend and it is in my favor to get the best feedback from them to understand what exactly they want and to deliver it.
What impact are you expecting your business to have on the environment? Alternatively, what impacts are you counting on for your business?
Well for the environment sake it is straight forward to me that people will try their best to have some initiative to plant. The country, on the whole, is in a state where we import a lot instead of growing our own. I am afraid that sometime in the further we will end up like Venezuela or Greece. So this is our initiative that we will impact people in a way that they will see the importance of growing their food. Ours grow box is here to minimize the excuse of having no space, time or facility. It is a small way to impact people to have a greater food basket and also supplement their income so they will have more money to spend on other things, to save and in the case of food prices hike they will have their food at their disposal. They will be able to teach their children the importance of planting their food and the joys of food security.
For Further information and updates on Treadstone Ltd, you can contact Gyasi Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribbean Climate Innovation Center