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New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NEWBIE (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience inEuropean agriculture)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

The European Commission has identified a distressing shortage of new farmers, based on an assessment of statistical figures showing that the number of young farmers in the EU27 is declining and older farmers are not passing on their farms to the new generation at a sufficient replacement rate.

The Newbie Network has been designed to address the significant challenge of enabling new entrants to successfully establish sustainable farm businesses in Europe. The Newbie network will facilitate the development and dissemination of new business models, including new entry models, to the full range of new entrants - from successors to complete newcomers to the agricultural sector.

The primary objective of the Newbie network is to increase innovation, entrepreneurship, and resilience in the European farming sector by enabling new entrants to successfully establish sustainable farm businesses in Europe.
Specific objectives of the Newbie project are:
• To collect, critically review and publicise existing and potential new farm business models and new entry models and associated communication channels across a broad range of international contexts.
• To increase the flow of practical, educational and scientific information on new business models and new entry models between and within the geographical areas in Europe.
• To produce and disseminate practice-based, educational and scientific information on business models and entry models in an easily accessible form, for new entrants through traditional and non-traditional agricultural knowledge systems making this information available long-term.
• To increase awareness and user acceptance throughout the agri-food industry and in rural businesses of the available new business and entry models, through establishment of stakeholder-led steering and discussion groups and development of practical ‘toolkits’ for new business model establishment.
• To foster creative experimentation within practice, education and research on new entrant business models, through training and/or study visits, and promotion of innovative business models, thus leading to increased economic, environmental and social gains from these enterprises.
• To provide support for the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability', through interaction with Operational Groups, and in particular through the delivery of a substantial number of “practice abstracts” in the common format of the EIP-AGRI, including a library of new entrant visual ‘stories’ illustrating successful new entrant business models.
• To provide input for research agendas and policy on new business models and new entry models for new entrants, including the identification of current barriers to the up-take of innovative new models (both within farming and associated support systems), helping to develop more resilient European agriculture and rural areas, as well as strong interactions between rural-(peri-) urban areas.
The Newbie consortium succeeded in involving a broad range of stakeholders all across Europe.

In each involved country, Steering Groups (5-10 people from relevant actors and stakeholders) were established. During the period covered by the report, the Steering Groups met at least twice in each country.

The consortium also organized dialogues, called Discussion Circles, at national and regional level. In total 77 Discussion Circles (DC) meetings have been organized in 9 countries during the period covered by this report, gathering over 3600 people. A report on the Discussion Circles meetings within the 9 countries (June 2020) is available.

On the project website a registrations system was developed enabling individuals to “become a member”. By the end of the reporting period over 630 people had registered, indicating the growing interest in the network. A report was written on the characteristics of the registered stakeholders, an update will follow in 2021.

Based on desktop research a report was produced on new entrants’ business models and entry models in all partner countries. Furthermore a report was produced on the available strategic business planning in the partner countries.

In every participating country 10 case studies (90 in total) were selected and interviewed. The majority of new entrants interviewed for the case study collection are also being presented individually on the Newbie website on an easy accessible map..

A Transnational Dynamic Learning Agenda and a connected National Dynamic Learning Agenda was developed in every partner country. The Learning Agendas are used by partners to focus on relevant content for the Newbie network(s) and to foster international learning and knowledge transfer.

In all partner countries national Newbie award ceremonies were organized and in every country at least two award winners for the best new entrant business model were selected.

A first concept toolkit for new entrants in Europe was developed which will be tested in the upcoming period.

The Newbie International exchange programme has completed 4 exchanges involving 7 out of the 9 partner countries. Due to the Covid restrictions the exchange meetings were put on hold.
The consortium performed a desktop research. This includes an update of state of the art of published work (literature) as well as new curricula and teaching modules from education institutes. Furthermore, beginning of 2021 (start of year 4) the characteristics and needs of registered stakeholders will be updated.

More videos will be made of new entrant case studies and Newbie award winners resulting in over 90 inspiring videos. Another 18 award winning business models will be selected in the upcoming period. Through registrations at the Newbie website the Newbie network will be further expand, the network has already grown beyond beyond the expected 500 members.

120 EIP Practice abstracts (PA) are foreseen. Since the EIP Practice abstract format is very limited with a maximum length of 1500 characters, we additionally prepared Newbie Practice descriptions which are a more extended version of the EIP practice abstracts. We will develop a total of 50 of these Newbie practice abstracts and they are placed on the website in a map with a search engine..

A practical online toolkit will be developed which provides contemporary advice for new entrants, successors and advisors. Material will be developed in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Business model strategies will be included. The toolkit will also include pedagogical material for future new entrants which will be developed in 2021

Newbie will enable knowledge on new entrants business models to be exchanged and enriched rapidly within countries and between European regions through the participation of farmers’ organizations and extension services as well as local (agricultural and civil) actors. This will result in practical toolkits and guidelines for newcomers, successors and their advisors.

Newbie is oriented towards building a durable network. The highly interactive nature of NEWBIE activities will ensure ongoing network connections between project participants over the course of the project. Once these connections have been made (and reinforced) – through discussion circles, bilateral visits, exchanges etc., they are expected to continue under their own momentum.
The newbie team