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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NEWBIE (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience inEuropean agriculture)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-06-30

The European Commission has identified a “distressing shortage of new farmers” (DGIP, 2012, p. 39), 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 stakeholderled 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.
Steering Groups (5-10 people from relevant actors and stakeholders) were established in all partner countries. During the period covered by the report, the Steering Groups met at least twice in each country.

In total 34 Discussion Circles (DC) meetings have been organized in 9 countries during the period covered by this report, gathering 1800 people. The 34 DC meetings were the occasion to present the NEWBIE project, its objectives and its organization to the participants.

On the project website a registrations system was developed enabling individuals to “become a member” by filling out a web form. By the end of the reporting period a total of 358 registrants, indicating the growing interest in the network.

The project started out with describing the state of the art on new entrants. Based on desktop research a report was produced on new entrants’ business models and entry models in all partner countries.

In every participating country 10 case studies (90 in total) were selected and interviewed. The main road into farming for the interviewed new entrants is the launch of a new farm business, followed by the takeover of family farm respectively other farm. Most often used business models belong to differentiation, diversification, and Alternative Food Networks.

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 a national Newbie award was established and a winner for the best new entrant business model was selected.

The Newbie International exchange programme has recently started with the first exchange between Belgium and Ireland. This programme stimulates the exchange between advisors in different countries encouraging the exchange of practice based solutions from different regions.
A map based template will be developed in which all cases studies can be presented on the Newbie website. The desktop research (Del. 2.1) will be updated at the beginning of year 3 (early 2020). 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, we expect that the network will grow 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 the Newbie practice abstracts.

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 of supportive environments for better addressing the developing needs and expectations of all included. Business model strategies will be included.

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’ organisations 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