Petra Hoyer


Petra Hoyer was able to prevail in the sometimes harsh and male-dominated world of building and construction materials. Her company is the largest of its kind run by a woman in eastern Germany. The origins of HObA-Baustoffhandel can be found at the S-Bahn train tracks along Greifswalder Straße in Berlin. That's where Hoyer – at the time a single mom in her mid-20s – founded her own building materials company in 1990. "

Back in the GDR era, Hoyer had completed studies in wholesale and export trade, but she had also secretly smoked Havana cigars and sold self-made fashion: it's no surprise, then, that she decided to found her own company after the Wall came down. The day after it fell, her curiosity about the West prompted her to get her in her grass-green Trabi [an East German car] and take an exploratory drive through Kreuzberg in the West. Today, her building materials company – which sells much more than just cement sacks and bricks, indeed it also specializes in sustainable products such as rooftop greening – is a complete success and even has a second location in Strausberg. In 2013, Hoyer took yet another big step in a brand-new direction: she revived her passion for fashion and sewing – something she had pursued before the Berlin Wall fell.

Together with her best friend, Ben Weide, a West Germany from Bremen, she founded the "Ben Weide" menswear label. The company produces exclusively in Europe and is committed to transparency with regard to both production and cost. In other words, from that moment on, Hoyer was handling construction sites on the one hand and washable wool business suits and photo shoots at the Berlin Fashion Week on the other. In July 2014, Hoyer was voted Berlin's Female Entrepreneur of the Year: this marked the official acknowledgment of her status as an inspiring role model for all aspiring female founders.