Date published: 14 Feb 2020
Each year, the School of Business and Entrepreneurship takes students on an international study tour. This year first year students visited Berlin as part of their Entrepreneurship module. The goal of the visit was to explore entrepreneurial ecosystems in Berlin with a focus on agriculture and the food supply chain in an urban setting.
The trip kicked-off with a visit to IP Garten to learn about their work developing an online platform allowing people in cities, or those without their own space, to grow food in remote gardens over the internet. The students met the directors of the company and talked with them about the challenges they faced and how they were working to stabilise and grow the platform. From here the group went to ECF Farm Systems to learn about their Aquaponic farm systems and their innovative components. The students had an opportunity to see how the farm operated, learn about its cost structure and even taste some of the produce!
From here the group went to see the sights of Berlin, including a visit to the historic Brandenburg Gate, before meeting in the evening to attend the launch of BIA’s new incubation facility. At this event the group had an opportunity to meet business owners and entrepreneurs from across the city’s start-up ecosystem and to learn about how it is changing and developing with a renewed focus on start-up, corporate intrapreneurship and agile development.
The next day everyone was up early to visit Prinzessinnengarten, an urban gardening project in the heart of the city. The project is repurposing derelict and dilapidated land into productive green spaces in an effort to improve the health and wellbeing of the city as a whole. Next we went to Beba, an innovative restaurant with its own vertical farm. As part of the visit students were treated to absolutely delicious samples of dishes using the plants themselves. This was followed, to the fascination of restaurant customers, by a talk from the owner, Shani Leidermann, discussing both its philosophy and operational processes.
On the final day the group visited Bikini Berlin, a concept shopping mall with a range of curated boutiques, gastro-offers and its famous modular pop-up boxes in which new businesses can launch products or services and test the market’s reaction. During the guided tour students learnt about the history of the building, the concept behind its re-invention and what the future might hold for this iconic Berlin landmark.
The last visit was to a food market, Markt Halle Neun, which provides an opportunity for new and avant-garde food outlets to test trade before moving to more permanent premises. Again everyone had the opportunity to sample food and interact with the business owners.
Everyone enjoyed the trip and it was a success. The student presentations and reports will have plenty of material from the entrepreneurial aspects of the visit, and we hope everyone will have fond memories of Berlin.