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Recent testimonies of successful business networking – Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme

For the past 10 years The BPCC has been an enthusiastic administrator of the EU funded programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs which aims to encourage mobility and entrepreneurship throughout the continent by matching aspiring entrepreneurs (referred to as NEs = New Entrepreneurs) from one European country with experienced business owners (known as HEs = Host Entrepreneurs) in another European country.

The BPCC has already overseen over 100 such exchanges including 55 in the current funding cycle, of which 10 have included outbound Portuguese NE for whom we have been able to provide financial support to subsidise their expense during their stay abroad.

Host Entrepreneurs (HE) from one European country provides a mentoring experience to an aspiring entrepreneur (NE) from another European country.

See below some of the successful stories from our exchanges;

Lays Cruz has just completed a business Exchange in the Netherlands with her host Eleni Nasiakou, here is their story:  

One of our registered HE’s, Laila Sørensen, who has already hosted several exchanges, was recently featured on the programme’s website for providing an exceptional and enriching experience for a spanish wannabe entrepreneur.

New entrepreneur:
Karol Farias

Karol Farias (Spain)
Age: 42
Company name: Aobá Upcycling – (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Clothing, footwear, leather and textile, luggage articles and accessories

My experience with the EYE program was both professionally and personally rewarding. The exchange of ideas and experiences gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge according to my career and gain more confidence to implement my project.

Host entrepreneur:
Laila Sorensen

Laila Sørensen (Portugal)

Company name: Sensify – (20 years of experience)
Sector of activity: Clothing, footwear, leather and textile, luggage articles and accessories

Another entrepreneurship ship has successfully come to an end. It is a pleasure to work with experienced entrepreneurs who can contribute their knowledge and vision to move forward and realize visions that make the world a better place – sustainability through upcycling.

Period of exchange: 01/2021 until 07/2021
Duration of exchange: 6 months
Business sector of the exchange – Textile

Can someone interested in fashion, culture and the circular economy benefit from working with a small sustainable clothing brand? Karol, a Spanish-Brazilian with a degree in Business Management who wanted to start a sustainable fashion company in Galicia, did just that. She saw the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme as a great opportunity to better understand the upcycling market in Europe: its suppliers, its consumers, the way to communicate with them and all the best practices to have a production chain closer to the parameters of the circular economy. Her project (“Aobá”) aimed to use the texile industry’s post-consumer waste, recycle it and reinvent it with the least possible environmental impact to counteract the linear fashion model. She found her Host Entrepreneur, Laila, a Dane who had settled in Lisbon, and her Sensify shop, which had been working with sustainable textile sources for many years. Laila had already hosted many new entrepreneurs and was keen to build a new relationship with Karol’s dynamic, creative and engaging personality.

The digital marketing experience Karol had gained at Sensify served as a compass when designing her own strategy: it was fundamental to understanding how best to market her business. Knowing the steps necessary to launch a collection – and planning the best way to communicate it to the market – was critical to designing Karol’s brand’s digital marketing strategy. She also had the opportunity to learn about Sensify’s new distribution channels, speak with the marketing and sales team, and meet with suppliers. The stay in Portugal was crucial for Karol to be able to produce the prototypes of the first Aobá collection. Having just arrived in Europe, she had few contacts with suppliers. Laila not only provided her with new contacts, but also helped her think about my first collection as we exchanged ideas.

During her stay, the New Entrepreneur designed her brand’s first collection and developed prototypes of the products. The exchange of ideas with HE was fundamental in defining the materials and processes used. The two began their activities by benchmarking upcycled products for both brands, which was crucial in expanding their vision of creative possibilities. As they worked with their progressing collection, they explored with the host entrepreneur the best pricing strategy for Karol’s products, visited suppliers and planned the launch strategy for her brand. In parallel to her work for Aobá, Karol actively participated in defining Sensifys’ digital marketing strategies, meeting weekly with the company’s marketing team. Developing a mood board and overseeing the shooting of the new collection, the graphic design of the catalogue and the design/planning of the company’s IG publications are just a few examples of the step-by-step implementation of the brand strategy.

From the Official EYE platform