Alexandra Pelka is a 27-year-old Austrian entrepreneur who started her sustainable solutions and services company called AP Projects with the goal of becoming a renowned commercial agent offering substantial business improvements in sustainability. She learned about the EYE programme through an Austrian business newspaper and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. She saw it as an opportunity to gain more knowledge by learning from experienced entrepreneurs especially in the leather industry, focusing on sustainability and innovation. Her other goals were to perfect her Italian language skills and build a network abroad. Andrea Fastelli is one of the four partners of Tecnochimica, a company based in Castelfranco di Sotto in the Tuscan province of Pisa. After hearing about the programme from a business partner, Andrea hoped to benefit from a fresh perspective and the innovative spirit of a young entrepreneur, and signed up as a host entrepreneur.
The relationship between Alexandra and Andrea was excellent from the start. From their first meetings, both came up with bold ideas on how to make a difference for a more sustainable future. Alexandra was quickly integrated into the team, with whom she had weekly meetings and who included her in leisure activities. At the same time, she had the opportunity to learn all about the manufacturing process and the chemicals used at Tecnochimica and how they are used in the partner tanneries. She was then able to implement her own innovative ideas for the tanning process and test them with Tecnochimica's business partners. The entire exchange was accompanied by weekly meetings between the entrepreneurs, where the host helped the young entrepreneur create her business plan and marketing strategy, and used the time to introduce her to potential customers. Alexandra helped Andrea with customer contacts, especially in German-speaking countries, and was able to help Tecnochimica close several important contracts.
Alexandra has benefited from the exchange both at the level of knowledge and at the level of business development and networking. She was able to significantly improve her knowledge of the Italian business world, gain insight into the manufacturing processes in the leather industry and make contacts with future clients. In turn, she brought back innovative ideas that she could further develop with her host and promote sustainable change in the leather industry. In addition, Andrea was able to leverage Alexandra's German language skills and customer knowledge, which led to the conclusion of several contracts for his company. The entrepreneurs intend to continue the cooperation and stay in regular contact so that both can benefit from each other's contacts and skills.
For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:
New entrepreneur's contact point:Dare Futuro Società cooperativa
(Firenze) Host entrepreneur's contact point:Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
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