Focus on the Owners
Interview with Ashley Wentworth, Founder, Stormsriver Adventures – Garden Route, South Africa
- Q: What inspired you to start Stormsriver?
A: An opportunity to definitively change the lives of an impoverished community and protect the rich natural heritage of the region by applying the triple bottom line principles from our company’s inception in 1998.
- Q: What did you do before you started Stormsriver?
A: I worked in the corporate world of ethical pharmaceuticals for 28 years for multi-national companies.
- Q: How did you choose the Garden Route in South Africa for the business, and what draws you to that location:
A: The natural pristine beauty and a needy rural community, plus an environment that needed to be protected for future generations.
- Q: Did Stormsriver start out being a “socially green” business that helps the community, or did that idea evolve over time?
A: Stormsriver has been socially green from inception. We formulated a 10-point statement committing to measurable outcomes by way of committed actions. This has been the guiding philosophy of the company and remains the cornerstone of what we do.
- Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect for you about the business so far?
A: The evolution and development of the 1600 community youngsters who, over the past 14 years, have received formal training in eco-adventure tourism granting them a step out of poverty. Further, the wonderful spirit of caring within the organization and making a tangible difference on a daily basis.
- Q: What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
A: Funding the business and placing people and the environment before profit even in difficult times.
- Q: What do you feel makes your business special or different?
A: The unique eco-adventure products developed, such as the canopy tour. The wonderful team of committed individuals who are the soul of the organization, as well as the fair trade and green line accreditations awarded.
- Q: If you were to start over, would you do anything differently?
A: No. Our founding principles are sound and sustainable.
- Q: What are your goals for Stormsriver in the future?
A: To hand it over to the very people who work here, as they are the true soul of the operation.
- Q: Where in the world do you still want to visit?
A: New Zealand
- Q: What has been your most memorable trip?