New Entrepreneur (NE)
Name & surname: Carolina Lechado
Age: 36 years
Sector of activity: Engineering
Have you already started your business? Yes
Name of business/website: (Freelance) Carolina Lechado / www.carolinalechado.com
What is your business? EU Projects Consultant
Host Entrepreneur (HE)
Name & surname: Juan Manuel Revuelta
Sector of activity: Consulting
Experience in running a business (in years): 10
Name of business/website: GLOCALIA SOLUTIONS / https://www.glocalia.eu/
What is your business? Strategic consulting and business assistance
Period of exchange: 18/09/2020 – 19/02/2021
Duration of exchange: 5 months
How did the Covid-19 health crisis and the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme help Carolina launch her own business?
My name is Carolina Lechado, and I am from Tenerife, Spain. I have been dedicating myself to the engineering sector for 9 years. I am a Civil Engineer, with a triple master’s degree in renewable energy, hydraulic modeling, and an MBA in sustainable development. Around 10 months ago, due to being confined because of COVID, I decided to undertake the project of creating my own business. I have had the idea for a long time but only during the pandemic, I decided to take advantage of being confined and put this idea into motion. I wanted to start focusing my work on European projects related to the environment so that in two years I would have my own consultancy for European Projects on the Canary Islands.
I found the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program by searching the internet and I got in touch with one of its Intermediary Organizations on the Canary Islands, the Canary Islands Technological Institute (ITC). Lucía Dobarro, head of the program at ITC in Tenerife, explained the program and the advantages to me and guided me throughout the process.
After being accepted into the program, on September 18, I traveled to Brussels; very nervous but excited to discover what this new stage had in store for me. Brussels seemed to me a very beautiful city architecturally speaking, but also with many parks and forests. Sustainable mobility was a priority. There were people from many countries and culture and customs very different from Spain.
I worked in a coworking space with colleagues and people from different companies. In a very cordial and comfortable environment in the heart of Brussels, where my HE provided me with a workspace, we were able to collaborate. During my three-month-long stay in Brussels, I was only able to be in the offices for a month. The other two months were spent teleworking due to COVID. But even so, the collaboration was not negatively affected.
From day one on, my HE made me feel like part of his team. I received training in European funds and life programs, collaborated in the drafting of European calls, and participated in projects of the environmental sector: LIFE, EIC, Innovation Fund, and Green Deal. I participated in and coordinated several events within the Green Week and the StartUp Europe Accelerathon Program. I also gave the HE a new vision and technical knowledge for the writing of engineering projects, with which I was able to expand the services they offer to their clients.
The HE in return, apart from the training mentioned above, helped me define a new roadmap and a business plan. He taught me how to analyse the competition and carry out the SWOT methodology, with which we could see weaknesses in my idea that had to be addressed. He invited me to events like the Green Week, where I could make new contacts, some of which are my current clients.
He also spread my personal brand during his webinars and opened doors for me to participate in entrepreneurship events where I could share my experience as an entrepreneur and promote my business, such as the VIO congress in Valencia, a congress that sought ideas to apply in green cities.
I have returned to Tenerife with great enthusiasm to implement everything I have learned: to better define my services, expand the client portfolio, invest in marketing, and make my business more widely known. In addition to this, there is a high possibility that my HE and I can collaborate again in the future, adding my personal brand as one of his partners to collaborate and work with on the Canary Islands.
In conclusion, I am very happy for the experience and grateful to my HE for everything he contributed. I also thank ITC (Lucía and Clarissa) for holding my hand throughout the process. I really want my business to grow and spread what I am passionate about – sustainable engineering – to contribute a grain of sand in the fight against climate change and in the achievement of a more sustainable society.
Carolina Lechado (NE): “Thanks to the EYE program, I have been able to learn new skills to put into practice in my own business that have contributed not only to my professional but also to my personal growth. I would encourage other entrepreneurs to participate in this program, since it is very productive, enjoyable and offers you many possibilities to advance and grow.”
Juan Manuel Revuelta (HE): “Thanks to this exchange, Carolina has given us her quality as a person and her technical knowledge, which has added value to my company, and we have been able to improve our services. Thus, the exchange has been very positive, and I would be delighted to repeat the experience with those entrepreneurs who have passion and concerns. Finally, it is worth noting that I am delighted with the program, because it allows me to expand my personal perspectives in third countries. And I also hope to continue collaborating with Carolina from Glocalia. “