PRESENTATION OF THE EXCHANGE
During the period 2010 – 2012, when Greece was experiencing its worst economic situation, the symptoms of crisis have appeared in the construction industry, which was totally collapsed. There was no construction activity and the national and local economy had been dramatically shrunken. It was the time when I came up with solutions to “keep my head above the water surface so to continue breathing” and I decided to restart my business. At that time I was informed about the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme and applied to it. Since then, I had a number of cooperations with Young Entrepreneurs within a wide field of activities extending from architecture and design to photo shooting and website development, which gave a boost to my business.
We started with a young and ambitious Italian photographer (who has already launched a very successful photoshooting agency) who helped us to photoshoot and advertise our projects. We continued with a young Slovenian programmer (a successful startuper in Lubjiana) who helped us with our websites. We then focused on architecture and the design of new projects. This was our real boost and fruitful cooperation with a number of young architects from various countries. With all NEs from the early beginning we set up an activity plan which we followed until the end. For me, it was a great asset to have young and enthusiastic persons with fresh ideas and trends. They helped me extrovert my business and drive my projects in a more customer-driven direction while at the same time they gave at some projects a more academic approach. For example, we designed a new kinder garden and during the design we studied and applied a model with the children moving inside the space (later on I was informed that this project was the highlight for the NE to develop cooperation with the globe leading engineering consultancy at their London offices). Moreover, the native speaking of other European languages (specifically Italian and Polish) helped me to expand our target group: we managed to close our first contract with an Italian client and now we are designing and building a nice house in the Historical Venetian town of Rethymno.
We are still in contact with all NEs, while with Chiara we set a joint venture and we cooperate in projects. All NEs got the valuable experience needed in order to boost their professional and entrepreneurial careers. They were directly exposed to clients and participated to clients’ meetings. They were introduced to Greek designing and building regulation systems and got familiar with deadlines, time and project management. But most importantly, as for most of them this was their first entrepreneurial experience, to “establish” the right entrepreneurial ethics.
The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs has decisively helped me to my effort to restart my business as it opened new perspectives to overcome the crisis in the Greek engineering sector. From the time that our small family business was left with 3 persons and was facing huge financial and liquidity issues with no access to financing, it currently consists of numerous employees and collaborators, it has brand new equipment and several partners, while strategic alliances have been built in European level. This is also reflected in our sales as from 2014 up today they have been more than tripled. It is obvious that with the “boost” of EYE I have rapidly developed my business, enhanced my services, updated my knowledge and skills embracing new ideas and broadened our operating markets and last but not least I feel more and more the creativity and the passion of what we do as humans and as European citizens.
As an experienced Host Entrepreneur and understanding the direct impact it has, I am looking forward to proceed with new relationships which will bring new added value to my business, establish a network across Europe with strategic alliances, broaden our international market -business extroversion was an ingredient of success- and at the same time help new entrepreneurs build solid entrepreneurial ethics with a skilful entrepreneurial mind-set and therefore to make a step forward to their entrepreneurial life. During these hard times that European Union bonds have been challenged, EYE is a successful initiate that brings EU entrepreneurs together to dream and shape a better future.