Marija Bumbak (Croatia/Education) and Marko Paunović (Belgium/Social Entrepreneurship)

Marko Paunović (HE) and Marija Bumbak (NE)

New Entrepreneur (NE)
Name & surname: Marija Bumbak
Country: Croatia
Age: 29
Sector: Education and training services
Name of business: INOVA

Host Entrepreneur (HE)
Name & surname: Marko Paunović
Country: Belgium
Experience in running a business: 10 years
Sector: Social economy/responsible entrepreneurship/CSR
Name of business/website: Out of The Box International /

Period of Exchange: From 16/06/2020 – 15/10/2020
Duration of Exchange: 4 months

How did the experienced entrepreneur Marko Paunović benefit from Marija’s innovative input?

Marko Paunović, CEO of Out of the Box International, is a consultant, moderator, and social entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience in running a business. His motivation to participate in the program was stimulated by experiencing firsthand the values of such international collaborations and by being aware of how much he has developed thanks to the know-how he got through a mix of practical experience. By sharing his experience with others, he wants to pass on what he has learned, with the benefits of innovation provided by new contacts.

Marija Bumbak from Šibenik, Croatia, is a business economics and finance graduate and soon to be project management specialist. She realized the advantages of an Erasmus exchange by studying in Lithuania. Upon her return, she had a desire to bring the European spirit into her home city. Given the increasing digitalization and recognition of knowledge transfer as a very valuable form of non-formal education, the idea for the establishment of INOVA arose. She recognized this as an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills useful for her future and as a springboard for her career.

Marija learned a lot from her host and gained insights about the work of European institutions, NGOs and the possibilities of financing projects through available funds. The host provided trainings on the Cohesion Fund and investment areas, the COSME program for small and medium enterprises, the Creative Europe Fund, the LIFE program, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the ERDF Fund, the ESF Fund, and the European Solidarity Corps, along with training on facilitation style and SMART city’s development.

Marija (NE): “I developed my communication skills through correspondence with various stakeholders, writing web and newsletter content, learning about online tools and how to disseminate information in a targeted way, which was very useful for my work plan. I also wrote project applications. I developed knowledge of project management software and I especially developed my management skills like leadership, time management, planning skills, risk management, negotiation skills, cost control, and facilitation style. Now, I understand better the context and mechanisms of EU funding and I have established contacts throughout Europe by working as a part of the Out of The Box International network.”

Marko gained some fresh ideas and new contacts from Marija for possible new partnerships and project development. One of the projects they worked on together, was also approved.

Marko (HE): “Marija – as a dedicated team member and advocate for a more dynamic and innovative Europe – is a great asset to Out of the Box International. We will continue working on her business plan. One Erasmus + project was approved also thanks to Marija’s contribution.”

Concluding Remarks

Marija Bumbak (NE): “The best way to learn is through experience. The shadowing experience was the absolute best for me. I gained so much knowledge and developed personally and my entrepreneurial spirit. Working with Marko in Out of The Box International was amazing and I hope our collaboration will continue in the future.’’

Marko Paunović (HE): “The experience was very positive, even though the pandemic had a negative impact on our daily work and cooperation.”