Participants Sound out Food Marketing Opportunities

The Kyrgyz, Moldovan and Ukrainian entrepreneurs who completed virtual MP training between February and May were all from the agricultural and food processing sectors. One particular food turned out to be a highlight.

The virtual format allowed participants from the agricultural companies to participate in the program fully even during the intensive preparation in the run-up to the season without neglecting business operations in their own companies. It also meant the experience and knowledge gained in training sessions and virtual company visits could be immediately tested under "real-life" conditions.

"The digital format meant we didn’t have to travel or step away from our day-to-day activities, and it gave us the opportunity to test some of the new tools and skills right away in our daily business," Volodymyr Tsviliy from Ukrainian agricultural machinery manufacturer Sawod Selchosmaschin said. He added, "We spent a few hours with my colleagues drafting a business plan using the business model canvas and were amazed at how much the visualization tool helped us understand where our strengths and weaknesses lie. This know-how transfer would not have been possible with the same efficiency if we had attended the programme in person."

The amaranth producers from the group were interested in exploring new distribution channels. Germany is increasingly discovering the healthy, organic "miracle grain" amaranth. Most is imported from Central and South America. There are producers in close geographic proximity, companies run by executives in the Manager Training Programme, that could make the supply of amaranth and amaranth products much more sustainable. MP participants enjoyed their first successes during training. An organic product importer in Saxony has agreed to include product samples from Ukrainian production in its portfolio in the future as part of a joint project. Other MP participants from this sector identified potential distributors.

Even though training took place entirely online, the executives from the three countries found it to be "a journey with many new experiences, contacts and business prospects". After two months with eight comprehensive online training sessions, nine virtual visits to German companies, and 41 virtual B2B contacts, they were happy with the progress made so far. All are looking forward to coming to Germany for the Completion Stay stage of the programme, where they will employ their new skills and experience primarily in establishing business relationships.

Rustam Kulenbekov summed his experience up: "Fit for Partnership with Germany is an eye-opener. We now not only know how to identify and contact the right German business partners. We can also better assess the risks of working together and approach collaborations with caution and foresight where needed. The program also takes away the rose-coloured glasses entrepreneurs tend to wear and reveals the real situation with its opportunities and stumbling blocks," the Kyrgyz entrepreneur said. Programme alumni are confident amaranth will be increasingly imported from European MP partner countries in the foreseeable future.

Photos: ©ARGE Konsortium NBL, Pixabay