Akeem Lennard 23 is a young entrepreneur who has committed to the ever-growing ‘green’ effort that’s flourishing in the British Virgin Islands.
Founding his company Greencrete BVI located on Virgin Gorda, he creates custom products ranging through coasters, cheese-boards, table-tops, and candle holders. The significant aspect that allies his business with the eco-friendly organisations that are increasing in number across the BVI, is his use of recycled concrete, glass, conch and whelk shells as his main source of materials for production of these items.
Talking to the business owner recently, he explained: “Since my launch in February 2013, there has been a lot of interest shown in the products being made.”
Identifying that the green effort is a growing phenomenon in the British Virgin Islands, Akeem is glad to be able to use products considered as waste and transform them into artistic pieces fit for homes. “Going green has been something that has been happening around the world for quite some time, but it just took a while to reach the BVI,” he said. “I think it is just awesome that I can take glass that would have usually ended up in the garbage dump and incorporate it into concrete to make a very unique and durable material that can be used in and around the home.”
In discussing the impetus supporting his efforts, he revealed that he worked in construction and as such possesses a strong interest in architecture. “Having such an interest in architecture, I found myself watching HGTV (Home & Garden TV) and reading books about architecture and construction,” said Akeem. “It’s while reading and watching HGTV, that I first came across concrete and recycled glass products and it automatically sparked my interest.”
Catering to a patronage who seek souvenirs that represent the Caribbean, his company developed out of his investigation into the products he wished to create. “I started doing my research and contacted a school in the USA that specialises in concrete counter-tops; I took a self-study course in it.”
Garnishing interest from homeowners and architects, who intend to incorporate his products into their designs, the attention gained has encouraged him despite acknowledgment that the timing of starting a new business in our economic market can be challenging. “Starting a business in a recession is always hard, but I’m actually happy and impressed with how my business is progressing.
“At the moment, all my products are constructed in my yard, but I am trying to acquire land on which I can construct a workshop and show room. I think this will help my business increase in customers.”
“Another reason for going this green route is to produce cost efficient durable products for homeowners that want that high-end look in their homes without spending too much money,” said the Greencrete founder. “All of my products are made to order, therefore giving customers the control to say what colours and designs they would like in their products. All of these products are sealed with a water based sealer which is also a green product.” Currently, his unique brand of products can be found at Blue Banana boutique in Virgin Gorda Yacht harbour.