Entrepreneur Leigh-Kathryn Bonner Champions The Honey Bee

By Zachery Eanes
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Leigh-Kathryn Bonner began taking beekeeping classes during her first year in college and immediately became hooked. She took inspiration from those classes to eventually launch her company “Bee Downtown” which creates sustainable habitats for bees.


Leigh-Kathryn Bonner’s company, Bee Downtown, isn’t even five years old, but it has earned her plaudits the world round.

From features in major glossy magazines to the local news and even the BBC in the United Kingdom, Bonner’s quest to build a company that takes on the issue of a fragile bee population has propelled her from a recent graduate of N.C. State University to one of the region’s most interesting entrepreneurs.

At 26, magazines such as Forbes and Inc. already have put her on national “30 under 30” lists, and Southern Living named her one of its “Southerners of the Year.”

“For our size, we have more media features than most start-ups out there,” Bonner told The News & Observer earlier this month while working out of the American Underground co-working space in Durham.

“And I think where we get very lucky and very fortunate is that there’s such a story there — and it’s not even our story, but a story of the bees,” she said.

The story of honey bees, over the past decade, is one that has gone from apathy to widespread concern.

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