The Dream of Owning a Business

It all started with business@school: During phase III, Niklas Guggenberger, CEO of FlowerArt GmbH, discovered his passion for building a business of his own. Since then, he is eager to see his own ideas take shape and grow.

Former business@school participant Niklas Guggenberger took over FlowerArt GmbH in 2014.

After his studies in sport, business & law at the University of Bayreuth and stints in the Recruiting Team of BCG and at an agency, Niklas Guggenberger, together with Lukas Dinger, took over FlowerArt GmbH in 2014 from Tobias Mazet, a friend and mentor from his time with business@school. With that takeover, he realized a long-held dream: "As an entrepreneur, I am my own boss and can see the results of my work directly—that motivates me a lot!"

Under the styleGREEN name, FlowerArt GmbH sells plant pictures made out of real, preserved plants such as moss, ferns, and exotic plants. Thanks to a special preservation method, the plants retain their natural look but do not need water or light. The preservation method is based on a procedure patented in 1984: In a preservation chamber, the natural juices of the plants are replaced with a liquid mixture of glycerin, water, and food coloring over a period of several days. Once they have been cleaned and dried, the plants are then processed further. styleGREEN offers two product lines: standardized plant pictures that are sold through the proprietary web site and through distribution partners, and custom orders. With its low-maintenance preserved plants, styleGREEN occupies a small niche between the two large markets for living plants and artificial plants. Over the past few years, the company's development has been very positive.

That was also the conclusion of the team from Gymnasium Ottobrunn when it analyzed the young company headquartered in Munich in phase II. Niklas Guggenberger met with the team a few times and was taken back to his own time with business@school. "That was when I first saw how many options I had—otherwise, schools rarely offer any connection to the realities of later working life!"

Besides business know-how and inspiration, the participation in business@school also provided Niklas Guggenberger with a strong network. At the European finals in the 2006/2007 school year, for instance, he met Joachim Schoss, founder of Scout24, who invited Niklas Guggenberger's team to Switzerland to jointly discuss their business idea. Although they decided against pursuing the idea further, he maintained contact with Schoss. "With his start-up expertise, he is an important advisor for me to this day," says the young entrepreneur.

Niklas Guggenberger is still active in business@school as a judge and is happy to pass his experience on to the current participants. Especially for phase III, he has a very specific piece of advice: "The presented marketing plans are often completely unrealistic. The teams should invest a little more effort there, do better research, and calculate the costs realistically. It simply isn't possible to set up a web site for €100!"

Always well-informed