New Entrepreneur (NE)
Name & surname: Valentina de Jesús Vergara Covelli
Sector of activity: Agricultural, forestry, horticultural, aquacultural, and apicultural products and services
Have you already started your business? Yes.
Name of business: FertiOrganiC
What is your future business? Production and commercialization of Organic fertilizer, promoting the transformation of conventional agriculture into a clean and ecologically viable agriculture.
Host Entrepreneur (HE)
Name & surname: Ana Castro
Sector of activity: Advertising, promotion, printing, media and related products and services
Experience in running a business (in years): 6
Name of business/website: Circus Network / www.circusnetwork.net
What is your business? Circus Network is a culture organization, based in Porto, that aims to promote Portuguese art, focusing on illustration and street art. It is divided into three categories: gallery, creative agency, and coworking space.
How was Valentina’s experience during her participation in the EYE program and what benefits did she obtain from it?
I am Valentina Vergara Covelli, a 24-year-old young Colombian entrepreneur and Spain’s resident since 2019 for study purposes. In the middle of 2020, when I was finishing my Master’s studies at the University of Cádiz, the intermediary organization Sulayr from Spain presented the EYE program and it caught all of my attention, mainly because I am passionate about entrepreneurship and committed to nature. I decided to formalize a family business dedicated to offering a real response to crop nutrition problems using Organic Fertilizer of the highest quality. I thought it was the perfect timing to work alongside an experienced entrepreneur through a collaborative relationship that was very beneficial for both parties. I applied to the aforementioned program and was selected for collaboration with Ana Castro, a design, illustration, and street art lover that created Circus Network, an art gallery and creative agency based in Porto, Portugal.
The entrepreneurial collaboration was set for four months, from October 12, 2020, to February 12, 2021. Throughout this time, I was able to put into practice all the knowledge acquired during my studies, to learn from the experience of other entrepreneurs (Ana and André), to improve my language level (also taking online classes three times per week), to continue developing my adaptability and to gain more international experience. My participation consisted in the development of online and offline marketing strategies to increase sales and target cover. My HE and I worked together and provided feedback on each of the advances throughout the collaboration. Also, the HE allowed me to interact with the stakeholders in their environment to gain skills in creating business relationships, which was very satisfactory for me. Despite the confinement and state of emergency, we were able to continue with our plan of activities using digital tools that allowed us to exchange mentoring spaces with good quality in real-time.
In addition, with the HE, I learned new techniques of the planning and execution of marketing strategies to improve my project, and I was able to offer her outside feedback to help them grow as a new company and implement strategies to increase the positioning and sales of Circus Network. Also, I learned a new language and my business plan has benefited from the exchange relationship because I have established strategic international alliances to offer my products worldwide, which will be of value to increase my sales.
For all those interested in an entrepreneurial experienced that will prepare you to run your own company successfully, I recommend the EYE program. Without a doubt, this has been a unique and enriching experience from every point of view, from which I have taken the best advantage, developing international contacts, getting to know another market and different ways of doing business, and discovering potential cooperation opportunities. For this reason, I want to invite all readers to be part of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
Valentina de Jesús Cergara Covelli (NE): “The Erasmus for young entrepreneurs (EYE) program has been an amazing experience! I had the opportunity to meet and share ideas and skills with an experienced and passionate HE, Ana Castro, who taught me what it means to run a business in the real world, as well as the chance to perfect my business plan, acquire new knowledge, discover a new country and make new contacts. Despite the current situation due to the pandemic, we found a way to reinvent and to concretize new ways of working, having a productive relationship until the very last day.”
Ana Castro (HE): “The exchange with Valentina was better than we could have ever hoped for. She has very positive energy and was always very eager to work and help us with any tasks at hand. Her dedication and commitment are outstanding and were a great addition to our team during these few months. Unfortunately, the pandemic impacted this exchange a lot since we had to close the shop and work from home for several weeks. However, Valentina was always in contact and took the initiative to study and come up with a wonderful marketing strategy plan to put in place in 2021. It was one of the best exchanges we had since we started participating in the EYE program, and we’re sure she will have a lot of success in her personal path.