Marta Pokojowczyk & Helena Loermans  - Erasmus entrepreneurs

Success stories

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

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New entrepreneur:
Marta Pokojowczyk (Poland) (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Crafts, art materials and accessories

" I really couldn’t predict that this exchange would have an influence on so many levels: craft, artistic, personal and official one (business). Since now I’ve achieved things which I hadn’t expected before coming here. Helena "opened me” somehow. ”

Host entrepreneur:
Helena Loermans (Portugal)

Company website (15 years of experience)
Sector of activity: Crafts, art materials and accessories

"Working with a young entrepreneur being an Art Historian and Painter has given me not only a deeper knowledge of art and looking at art but has also stimulated me to have a new look at light. A lesson I have learned in the exchanges is a new way of mathematical counting: 1+1=3 :) "

Period of exchange: 08/2014 until 01/2015
Duration of exchange: 5 months


Helena Loermans was born in the Netherlands but has been living for more than 30 years in Odemira, a small town located in the south of Portugal, where she owns a weaving studio and produces her own collection of hand woven textiles. Helen has been a host entrepreneur in the programme since 2012. 

Marta Pokojowczyk is a History of Art graduate and a painter. She works with raw materials: jute, paper, soil and pigment in powder.  Marta heard about  the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme from a friend and decided to participate because she found in it an opportunity to gain knowledge of how to start your own business and how to run it.

The match between these two women was instantaneous- Marta was particularly interested in Portugal and Helena was one of the first host entrepreneurs in the Arts&Craft field that she came across in the programme. She immediately impressed by Helena’s work and the beautiful location of Helena's studio in Odemira.  Helena, herself, was also taken by Marta’s work and she felt that this could be a successful exchange.

The exchange between Marta and Helena focused on hand weaving , from the theoretic to the practical elements of the basics to explore the knowledge of the two entrepreneurs and as a result, it created new, complex textures to weave hemp and linen canvas. Helena also showed Marta that sharing your activities with the audience is an vital when you want to live from what you are doing. One of the first things that Helena asked the young entrepreneur to do was to make a blog and a Facebook business page (or other social media) about the exchange from the first moment onwards- their beautiful work can now be discovered and on

Helena and Marta also started to work on ideas of connecting weaving and painting by weaving ones own canvas. This is how Hempweavers was started-  a project which is settled between two disciplines: weaving and painting.  Hempweavers creates handwoven hemp / linen canvasses with different textures and colours.

Besides being a  successful relationship, this exchange was a dynamic and enriching experience for both entrepreneurs. 

Marta learnt the basics of the craft and got familiar with 12 and 24 shafts looms. The exchange helpded her develop her own projects and also allowed her to participate in the production for Helena’s collections.On Marta’s view the wisdom shared by Helena allowed her to overcome fears and difficulties connected with the challenge of starting a new project. Helena also showed Marta that by distinguishing art and craft one creates borders that stop the flow of creativity.  Most importantly, however, Helena thought Marta that  there is no reason to wait until you start your company because you will never be sure if this is the right moment, when ,in fact, any moment is the right moment. 

Helena was happy to share her knowledge with Marta and, in return, Marta's enthusiasm and skills have been beneficial for Helena's atelier and its production. Marta’s pictures of their work also helped Helena to enrich her own website and Facebook page.  

In 2017, Marta set up Interweave Studio – a Atelier based in Wroclaw, Poland, where art interlaces with craft and humanities. Interweave Studio is a small scale manufacture, sole proprietorship, where different type of products are designed and created on a weaving loom. Production process is zero waste. Textiles woven with European certified linen and merino wool yarn are natural and eco-friendly

Entering the discipline of weaving bacame the crucial point in Marta's artistic practice which ler her to deepen the issue of the canvas as a groundwork (basis for painting). Designing 3-dimensional textile objects so called Canvases 3D (woven watercolors) is a transposition of the artpiece from a sphere of a pure view directly into the human environment. In 2019 authorial project ‘Humanism of Fabrics’ was exhibited during Gdynia Design Days festival (Gdynia, Poland) and Venice DesignWeek (Venice, Italy). Since 2015 textiles were presented during design festivals and exhibitions in Poland and abroad, for example in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Austria.

My current research is based on learning and implementing traditional weaving techniques from North East Poland into contemporary weaving forms. In the near future I would like to share the knowledge and skills with all interested people

For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:

New entrepreneur's contact point:
Polish Agency for Enterpise Development (Warsaw, Poland)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
Associação Spinpark - Centro de Incubação de Base Tecnologica (Guimarães, Portugal)

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