Recent testimonies of successful business networking - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme
Period of exchange: 02/2020 until 07/2020
Duration of exchange: 6 months
Nastasja Minja is an aspiring entrepreneur from Slovenia who graduated in psychology. She wanted to start a business in the field so she went to Italy for a five-month long entrepreneurial exchange.
Yet, not long after she started working alongside host entrepreneur Valentina Bortolotto, owner of NEFELI EDUCATION, she found herself facing the coronavirus crisis and a national lockdown.
"I arrived in Italy in February and the lockdown started in March. It was a sudden change that I was not prepared for. Yet, I had to promptly adapt to the situation and comply with the restrictions of movement and social interactions. It was very difficult for me to avoid physical contacts with people as I am psychologist, but there was no choice”. "We needed to be responsible and show respect to those suffering from the consequences of the disease.”
Even if she was not ready for this, the lockdown presented an opportunity for Nastasja and Valentina to work differently. The two women decided to continue the collaboration virtually using digital tools for communication. They could carry on the activities initially planning during the exchange.
Using the spare time the quarantine offered, Nastasja could refine some aspects of her business plan. She notably focused on creating content for sport psychology, whilst also being fully committed to Valentina’s business.
To make her remote work life more comfortable, Nastasja created an environment at home that resembled a workplace, which really helped her to be efficient and productive. She advises everyone to do the same. She also recommends setting a schedule making sure that it fits a daily agenda.
"It is more difficult to avoid distractions at home, especially if you live with someone, so I needed to have a strict schedule that I would follow rigorously (e.g. working whilst others are sleeping).”
The communication flow with Valentina and the other colleagues at NEFELI, did not change much during the quarantine, it actually got better!
The restrictions actually allowed people to have more time to talk to each other and focus on discussions about strategies and future projects.
And one of the most important strategies during the quarantine, was to try to adapt Valentina’s business services to virtual methods. Indeed, like many other businesses, hers has been financially struggling during the crisis. The government provides economic support but that is not enough for a full recovery.
But the two women remain positive about the situation, no matter how bad it is, it still represents an opportunity for both business growth and personal development.
Nastasja Minja remains also very keen to connect with other EYE entrepreneurs currently abroad facing the same challenges. She can provide psychological support to anyone who may need it. Her mission as a psychologist is to help people overcome the worst and thrive in adversity and she would be more than eager to offer her help in these challenging times.
For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:
New entrepreneur's contact point:
University of Primorska (Koper)
Host entrepreneur's contact point:
Unioncamere Veneto (Venezia)
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