By Simone Langhorst, senior consultant Q-Point
In September 2018 a team of Egerton University visited the Netherlands for an exposure visit organised by project partner Q-Point. The delegation of Egerton consisted of Egerton’s top management: Prof. Rose Mwonya, Prof. Alexander Kahi, Wilson Munene and George Ombele. The goal of the mission was to visit project partners, private livestock companies and other innovative agricultural organisations.
The visit started with a kick-off and dialogue on the status of the project. Avisit to Phenovation, a private company which produces industrial and research equipment for phenotyping and scientific research, followed. Henk Jalink welcomed the Kenyan team and explained how research and engineering came together and lead to a successful niche company.
Gitte Schober of Startlife welcomed the team in Wageningen in the Starthub building at the Wageningen University and Research campus. Startlife provides for coaching and mentoring and all other facilities for young entrepreneurs to set up their business. The team visited the facilities which students can use to work on their ideas to be turned into reality. Finally, the team had the opportunity for a small talk to some start-up entrepreneurs and graduates.
Private agricultural companies
The second day the team visited three private agricultural companies: Den Elshorst (pig farm and agri tourism), Wintelre rondeel (poultry) and Dn Dijk (dairy and cheese). These companies have an innovative way of farming and are successful in their field.
Den Elshorst is an innovative pig farm which links the farm to agri-tourism. The pigs are not kept indoors exclusively, but can walk freely in the open air. Since Thea Moonen, the owner of the farm and her husband, have links to HAS Den Bosch, the pigs are also subject to research projects, where they are used to eat larvae at a horticultural farm in order to reduce use of pesticides.
Susanne Vonk of the Rondeel farm welcomed the team and explained the innovative way of managing a poultry farm. The Rondeel farm is an animal and environmentally friendly egg production company, with high production numbers. The farm is effectively and efficiently managed.
The last visit was to Dn Dijk where young entrepreneur Wiebe van de Crommert talked about taking over part of the family owned dairy company and setting up a cheese production facility and farm store. Exchanging ideas and views with the young entrepreneur on family farming and starting up the cheese farm were inspiring.
Maastricht School of Management
The third day Carel Jaspers guided the team to visit MSM, one of the project partners of the NICHE project. Meinhard Gans, CEO, welcomed the team. MSM has an excellent curriculum on short- and long-term courses on leadership, innovative entrepreneurship and effective public policy. MSM colleague Huub Mudde gave a presentation on the entrepreneurial university.
HAS Den Bosch
Thursday 27 September Simone accompanied the Kenyan delegation to HAS Den Bosch, where the food lab, the environmental lab and greenhouse educational facilities were visited. The HAS team presented the competence based educational system and the entrepreneurial classes. The visit finalised by signing a MoU between Egerton University and HAS Den Bosch.
The last working day of the visit consisted of a preview of the Q-Point leadership training by Victor Volkers and among other things discussions about the project planning and the strategic plan of CoELIB.