The Brood & Spelen competition was set up by the national government to start promising and innovative ideas for rural renewal. Designers, creative agencies and landowners were called upon to jointly develop radical, realistic and feasible proposals for the major challenges that the countryside faces.
Ravenkop has developed the “Start-up Farm” concept in collaboration with Buro Moon, OTO Landscape and the Decohof in Dalfsen. A proposal for a new network of rural estates where entrepreneurship is central. As a team we believe that diverse entrepreneurship and the space to experiment in small-scale agricultural and horticultural businesses can be the innovation engine for this sector.
Modernization and expansion in agriculture in the Netherlands has led to an increase in land area while the total number of farmers is decreasing. In 35 years the number of agricultural companies in the Netherlands has more than halved. The number of farmers fell by 54.8 percent, or 79,487 companies. This means an average decrease of 2,338 companies per year – an impressive number of 6.4 companies that stop daily.
One of the reasons to cease operations is the lack of succession. The smaller the farm, the smaller the chance of business succession. As a result, small rural companies are often forced to shrink, sell land and property or change course dramatically.
The modernization and technological progress in rural areas also leads to a shift of the job market, where the concentration of labor will lie even more with large companies, with more and more focus on technology and management. The impact of this is substantial; the number of jobs is decreasing, young people are leaving which further influences the aging population of the countryside and socio-economic structures are crumbling down. As a result, local farmers’ entrepreneurship is gradually being eroded.
A turnaround will not emerge from the side of the big companies, if we look at disruption today it rather emanates from small entrepreneurs who dare to take action and see opportunities where others see challenges.
The small-scale agricultural and horticultural companies (25% of the total number of agricultural and horticultural businesses in the Netherlands) that are most under pressure to give up or innovate are the perfect group to sketch a new future built on social inclusive entrepreneurship.
If we look at innovation clusters worldwide, we see a system of start-ups, scale-ups and large companies that work together on new products and services. The ideal mix in this system is 50% large companies that act as customers, 25% scale-ups which provide the connections in the system and 25% start-ups which, as an innovation engine, keep the system going.
Our vision for the future of the countryside is that this type of cluster interaction is also starting here with the 25% small-scale agricultural and horticultural companies as an innovation engine.
We identify the following phases to achieve a fully functional system:
Phase 1, small-scale agricultural and horticultural businesses and estates as incubators of innovation and entrepreneurship
Phase 2, the emergence of a network of small-scale innovation hotspots and the creation of a few scale-ups
Phase 3, large companies source products and services from smaller companies and switch to new economic models, the 25% small-scale companies offer an attractive workplace and act as the innovation engine
By winning the competition, we continue to develop and execute the plans. This means that in the coming period we will start working on experiments with multiple stacked earnings models for this specific location and looking for collaborations with training institutes and entrepreneurs at (small-scale) farms and estates in the region.
For more information visit (website in Dutch); https://prijsvraagbroodenspelen.nl/
Richard Sennet speaks in his new book “Building and Dwelling” about the importance of understanding and observing life in a city through the eyes of young urbanites. To see this in practice, Ravenkop has visited Nairobi, the second fastest growing city in Africa. In Nairobi we came into contact with the boys from Nai Nami. Having spent their youth on the streets, they allowed us to walk with them through the alleys and squares of Nairobi to hear about their experiences and to observe the city through their eyes.
An impressive trip from elegant offices and shopping centers to local markets and residential areas of those who are less well off. We were introduced into the ways in which they managed to build a life for themselves in Nairobi after years of wandering. How they experience the city. What they can contribute to the city and what challenges they face in doing so. A special way to feel the skewed relationships in the city and to see the influence of rapid urbanization from a different perspective.