"MY DREAM? SELLING OUR ICE CREAM IN STORES THROUGHOUT GERMANY."

Ralf Schulze is the managing director of the ice cream company “Ice Guerilla” in Beeskow, in the Oder-Spree region of Germany. The former sergeant founded his company in 2009; in 2012, his vanilla ice cream was named “Best Ice Cream in Germany”. In the future, the ice cream specialists at “Ice Guerilla” plan to conquer Germany’s supermarkets.

Ralf Schulze

Managing director of "Ice Guerilla" in Beeskow

Ralf Schulze

Managing director of "Ice Guerilla" in Beeskow

Watch the video to find out why making ice cream is an art form for "Ice Guerilla"

Mr Schulze, what makes self-employment so attractive?

Being able to make your dreams a reality. Self-employment gives me the freedom to do what I can do and what I want to do.

In 2009, you established your ice cream brand, “Ice Guerilla”. How did you reach that point?

Everything started with the fact that I gave up my steady job as a sergeant in the German armed forces in order to revive the boarded-up cinema in my hometown of Beeskow. The cinema has three screens and an ice cream café. And I thought, if we’re going to sell ice cream, we should make it ourselves – and that’s how “Ice Guerilla” came into being.

The name sounds vaguely martial. How challenging was it to start your own business?

Taking the plunge in and of itself wasn’t so difficult; you just have to consider the consequences at an early stage. It’s been my experience that if you want to be self-employed, you should be ready to turn your life completely upside down. For me, though, that was a positive experience.

You’re currently building an ice cream factory in Beeskow. Is expansion important to you?

The demand – particularly from big customers – has been growing for years. That’s why we’re growing, too, and we’re creating jobs in the region long-term. That’s particularly important to me; without the people here, we would never have enjoyed the level of success that we have.

What’s your dream?

One day, I’d like to be able to sell our premium ice cream in stores throughout Germany. That won’t be easy, of course. In that sense, the name “Ice Guerilla” also hints at the competition between us and the big ice cream producers.

How important are partners who support your work?

Having a sparring partner in business who recognises your needs is extremely valuable. If I need frozen blackcurrants, for example, and my partner says, “No problem, I can handle that,” then that’s even better. And if my partner says, “Tell me what you need; write me an e-mail, and you’ve got it” – well, that’s the best thing there is!

What’s your recipe for success in self-employment?

Believe in yourself, your idea and your project. And don’t focus primarily on money or free time – it will take a while before those things come your way.

Ali Güngörmüs is owner and chef of "Le Canard nouveau" in Hamburg

The michelinstarred entrepreneur

Ali Güngörmüs has been the owner and head chef at "Le Canard nouveau" in Hamburg since April 2005. He earned his first Michelin star in 2006 and has also been awarded 16 points by Gault-Millau. Güngörmüs will open a new restaurant, the Pageou, in Munich in October 2014.

Interview with Ali Güngörmüs

Christof Wleckhorst is the owner of Luja in Dachau

The new business owner

For eight years, native of northern Germany Christof Wieckhorst supervised large-scale caterers for a brewing company in Bavaria. Then he took the plunge into selfemployment. In March 2014, he opened his event restaurant "Luja" in Dachau.

Interview with Christof Wiekchorst

Renata and Mike Masurczak are the owner of dreiRaum in Düsseldorf

The career changers

Renata and Mike Masurczak opened "dreiRaum" in Düsseldorf in 2010. The decision of the two bank workers to become self-employed with a bistro was a spontaneous one – and one they do not regret to this day.

Interview with Renate and Mike Masurczak

Share page