Cases 12:28 11 Apr 2023

Business in the sixth grade: eco-farm from a 12-year-old

Svyatoslav Lavrynenko, a sixth-grader from Kyiv, is already an entrepreneur. While completing a biology assignment on seed germination, the student got so enthusiastic that he created an eco-farm in the family apartment. Now he grows onions, arugula, and basil. In just a few days, his Telegram channel Struchok gained so many subscribers that customers are already standing in line, booking greens months in advance.

Svyatoslav Lavrynenko admits that he did not plan to become an entrepreneur. He just liked to watch the seeds of various crops germinate: beans, watermelons, cucumbers. One day, his mother's friend bought onions from him and posted about it on Facebook, spurring messages, orders, and new business tasks. The young entrepreneur shared his story and plans for the future with Rubryka.

It all started with a high mark

"Good evening. You can interview my biology teacher and me. She inspired me." That's how Lavrynenko responded to Rubryka's interview proposal. The young businessman says that about two months ago, his biology class was assigned the task of germinating bean seeds at home. This is how the six-grader's business started.

"I managed to germinate two seeds — one had a small root, and the other also had a stem. I got the highest mark for this. I started getting curious about how cucumbers, watermelons, peas, and, later, onions would sprout," Lavrynenko continues. "I like that it all grows very quickly. For example, beans grow by 2 centimeters a day."

The boy's curiosity grew into a small eco-farm on the windowsill and in the room. Lavrynenko and his grandfather went to the hardware store and bought seeds, soil, and plant pots. They also bought onions for planting at the market. The young entrepreneur invested his funds in business — Lavrynenko collected money given to him for his birthday.

He learned the technology of planting and germinating seeds in biology classes, so he was interested in applying this knowledge in practice.

After planting his mini-garden, Lavrynenko decided to create a Telegram channel. At first, he had a narrow circle of subscribers — only 14, mainly his relatives. He shared his harvest and the process of growing it with them.

екоферма вдома

екоферма вдома

The first harvest, beans, and onions, grow on the windowsill. Photo: Telegram channel Struchok

Olesya Ostafieva, a friend of Svyatoslav's mother, happened to be an entrepreneur — and became the eco-farm's first client. She bought several bunches of onions from Lavrynenko and posted about it on her Facebook page. And after that, the number of Telegram subscribers began to snowball.


"Now, I accept orders in advance because many things have not yet grown, and some are just being sown. I make a vote among my followers on what they would like to buy from me. Onions, dill, and garlic became the most popular options. I have already planted some of it," Lavrynenko explains.

The young businessman delivers ready-made orders personally, or sends them by mail.

Svitlana Dyakevich is Svyatoslav's biology teacher. She initially had no idea she had inspired the boy to start his own business, but recalls that Svyatoslav was one of the few students who completed the task of germinating seeds. She even showed his work as an example to others.

"He did not tell me that he had this idea. He shared his Telegram channel only after the first results. I was very impressed," the teacher continues. "After all, getting children interested in school subjects is so difficult nowadays. During my work at the school, this is the first such example. I never had anyone like Lavrynenko."

"His mailbox is flooded with orders for the vegetable garden and invitations to interviews"

Ostafieva shared on her social networks how Lavrynenko's small business became like his own MBA program.

"His personal account is filled with orders for the vegetable garden and interview invitations. He receives new challenges and new lessons," writes Ostafieva.

Due to such an influx of customers, Svyatoslav had to learn to quickly cope with the challenges of running a business, the first being planning. Lavrynenko broke his piggy bank to meet the demand and bought the necessary greens for planting. Then he realized that his ledger was in the red. That's how he learned that a bunch of basil should not cost $0.70, as he planned.

The second challenge he faces is a growth crisis. The young entrepreneur does not have time to answer all the requests and has already realized he needs an assistant. In addition, according to Ostafieva, he is already negotiating with classmates who are ready to grow vegetables at home and supply him.

The third challenge is communications. Prospects of business development were not communicated with his sisters, so when the children's room became packed entirely with pots and smelly onions, they rebelled and evicted the brother from the room. That's how he learned about business expansion and additional rental costs.

Lavrynenko says he now grows part of his vegetable garden in his grandfather's apartment. There, he occupied a separate room, where he placed pots with herbs. But still, it is already necessary to think about how to solve the problem of sowable areas in the future.

Svyatoslav dreams of a big eco-business and inspires classmates

In the summer, the junior businessman plans to go to the countryside and start his own garden there,  growing tomatoes, greens, and vegetables. He plans to invest the money earned in this business to expand and develop it.

"I am already being asked about seedlings. I want to install mini-greenhouses and grow cherry tomatoes, peppers, spinach, basil, and Brussels sprouts," Lavrynenko says of his plans.

To develop a business plan and strategy, Svyatoslav asked his mother for help. Currently, he has many plans and ideas. But he is most inclined to grow vegetables in the country in the summer. Svyatoslav is already promoting his TikTok profile to increase the number of potential clients. He admits that he still has a lot of work to do and learn, but he has support and helpers.Dyakevich, the boy's biology teacher, says he inspired his classmates with his successes, and no longer are students asking: "Why study biology?"


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