Urška Merljak & Katian Caria - Erasmus entrepreneurs

Success stories

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

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New entrepreneur:
Urška Merljak (Slovenia)

Company name: (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Advertising,Promotion, Media

Host entrepreneur:
Katian Caria (Portugal)

Company name:
Sector of activity: Advertising,Promotion, Media

It was a great opportunity for me too and for my business. Having hosted Urška as a New Entrepreneur was an outstanding experience and I can say it has changed both our lives forever. We have both contributed to each other’s growth as business professionals as women entrepreneurs and as human beings.

Period of exchange: 10/2015 until 03/2016
Duration of exchange: Five months


My Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs experience

By Katian Caria, Award Winner 2017- Category of Host Entrepreneurs

Life is full of wonderful surprises if you just allow yourself to "Follow your Heart” and trust that everything happens for a reason!

Two years ago I got an unexpected call from an Intermediary Organization of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme (which surprisingly enough I had never heard about) and managed to arrange an online meeting with Slovene entrepreneur Urška Merljak. 

I remember feeling quite surprised that I was proposed to host this new entrepreneur and wondered whether I was up for it. A sense of responsibility and duty came over me and reminded me how important it has always been for me to have a "mentor” someone I could learn from and grow with.I was an Erasmus student back in 1998/1999 and Urška somehow reminded me of myself a couple of years back but in a more mature version. I quickly realised this was to work both ways!

It was a great opportunity for me too and for my business. Having hosted Urška as a New Entrepreneur was an outstanding experience and I can say it has changed both our lives forever. We have both contributed to each other’s growth as business professionals as women entrepreneurs and as human beings. Being a Host Entrepreneur meant taking on a big responsibility and sometimes being overwhelmed with the new entrepreneur needs and ways but learning to work based on mutual respect and admiration allowed us to straighten our professional relationship and watch it grow into a beautiful friendship that we hope will last for all time. We were even awarded a Diploma of Achievement to acknowledge the successful completion and exemplary execution of the business exchange from my IO – The British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce as well as a member certificate for the Chamber.

I believe business achievements are only a sustainable reality when they based on trust and through this programme we both learned to live this value even more. Trust in ourselves trust in others and trust in the Universe. Through the experiences we had in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs I learned a number of things such as: to give without expecting anything in return to be more accepting as a person a leader and a professional to be humbler and more grateful fr things and events that are part of life to stay connected to my essence and my dreams and so much more. With Urška and her knowledge and interest I also learned to work more with the wisdom of the body and to reconnect with my African roots (I was born in Mozambique).rnAs a result my business gained a deeper level of meaning.

As a result, my business gained a deeper level of meaning. I expanded my Coaching, Mediation and Training services and included Mindfulness as a support platform for it all. This alone, in the long run represents a greater achievement that any of the number of events we did together (and they were numerous). It meant deepening the foundations of my business and making it more solid and sustainable. Urška and I created an ongoing project called Mindfulness Intelligence. This project encompasses all our know-how and multi-disciplinary experience in the fields of mediation, coaching, psychotherapy, training, dance and mostly inner wisdom. Thanks to the programme and the collaboration with Urška, I develop a special interest in the vast field of Mindfulness and have since our interaction met many people who I can collaborate with and I managed to invest in a train the teacher course with the Centre for Mindfulness of an American University, allowing me to offer my own MBSR - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction - 8-week courses. I believe this will have a significant impact on the lives of many people who will learn and benefit of this type of Meditation in their daily lives.

I also feel very proud to have contributed to Urška’s achievements in creating her own company - INTINITI, psychotherapy, mediation and dance, Urška Merljak s.p. – and knowing she has achieved many concrete results in less than a year, namely having her own ongoing individual psychotherapy clients and conducting a regular group of mindfulness dance therapy workshops. She has also developed partnerships to spread her mediation, communication, conflict management and mindfulness skills and this means that we will in the future carry on working together. I have already got dates to go to Slovenia to meet other conflict mediators and create a wider network. I am also expanding my own business by providing more workshops in Portugal and abroad and together we will be delivering our services.

Another huge achievement is that soon, I will also have the privilege of being a part of a great International Festival that Urška is putting together – INTINITI–Dance-Bliss-Festival, to be held in Slovenia in October 2017. I have been invited to help promote this event, to be a moderator on site and also a facilitator for the Mindfulness component of the event. Urška is also promoting me and my services worldwide on the festival web site.

All in all, it has been a gift to benefit from the programme and having met Urška, who followed her heart and helped me to follow mine. I really believe everything happens for a reason. So be it!


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

New entrepreneur's contact point:
University of Primorska (Koper, Slovenia)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (Cruz Quebrada Dafundo, Portugal)

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