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May 7, 2021

Founding Club Stories: Lena Schmidberger

by Jeannet Kiessling

Graduating with a degree in International Management, one might expect Lena to start her career at a prestigious international consulting firm. Indeed, 24-year-old self-acclaimed podcast enthusiast is a senior associate for risk assurance  solutions at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. And yet, at this young age, she already discovered another exciting path: the love for entrepreneurship.

Lena’s interest in entrepreneurship developed in her childhood. Growing up in a small town in Bavaria, she watched her parents run their butcher and restaurant business. “I learned early on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It is hard work, and high pressure and requires resilience.” This is also where she had her first product idea. After she moved to Augsburg to begin her studies, she couldn’t find the high quality meats she was used to from home. So she decided to develop a new online distribution channel for her parents’ store. “When I started this, a mere 6 years ago, people didn’t think that you could actually get your food delivered to your house.” Together with a developer, she set up an online shop and a delivery system. When the pandemic hit, this proved to be a great advantage. “Corona increased demand by three times the amount from before.” Overnight, the small butcher shop in Aindling near Augsburg was at the forefront of online delivery. 

While Entrepreneurship is one thing Lena learnt to love from youth, another is food. She doesn’t only like to cook and invite friends over for dinner, she already worked in two food startups while in college. “At Paleo Jerky I was the Girl Friday, and I learned a lot about how to run a business.” When the founder decided to start a new company, this time offering personalized vitamin supplements, Lena decided to come along. “I learned even more there, for example how to bring the product to new markets.” 

With all that under her belt, I ask Lena what she hopes to achieve in her SET-Masterprogram, which started this week. “I have many diverse interests and I am still looking for the one idea that I am truly passionate about,” she says. Lena is mostly curious about the combination of the sustainability and entrepreneurship aspects of the program and hopes to learn new insights. “I was looking for a program that doesn’t just throw knowledge or power points at you. I searched for something interactive, a place where you can exchange ideas.” Knowing that she likes to take on responsibility, she thinks about starting her own company when the right idea comes along. Her parents are her role models. ”They could have easily sold or scaled their business, but they stayed true to their goals and ideals.” 

Lena’s analytical skills won her the 10,000 EUR scholarship from Deutsche Börse for her solution to the changes in electronic securities to old and emerging business models. Whether it will be food or the financial industry: Lena is on a promising path to success! Good luck with your studies, Lena.