Alejandro Colete Moya (Spain, Journalism) and Christiana Gardikioti (Greece, Education & Agribusiness)

NE Alejandro Colete Moya and his HE Christiana Gardikioti

New Entrepreneur (NE):
Name & surname: Alejandro Colete Moya
Country: Spain
Age: 30
Sector of activity: journalism
Did you already start your business? not yet
Name of business/website (if any): Diario El Púnico

Host Entrepreneur (HE):
Name & surname: Christiana Gardikioti
Country: Greece
Sector of activity: Education and Agribusiness
Experience in running a business (in years): 15 (3 with Meraki, 4 with Hamu Hellas and 8 in private practice of financial consulting)
Name of business/website: The Meraki People, http:www.merakipeople.gr
What is your business? Atypical Cultural learnings and mushroom production on olive brunches as part of a nature based practices

Period of exchange: 18/09/2021 – 18/11/2021
Duration of exchange: 2 months

What did Alejandro accomplish in the rural areas of the Greek Peloponnese?

Before I discovered the EYE program I had this dream of creating a news media for the Mediterranean re­gion. I was in a good position, being a spanish PhD in history and having dealt with the history of the Medi­terranean since I started university. I was not sure, in any case, about how to proceed. The dream was rather vague, and did not provide any certainty about my future in economical terms. Could I make a living out of it? I was kind of lost and pessimistic about it. Soon after, I came across a friend that actually new about the EYE programme, and I just decided to give it a try. The sheer fact of having to create a business model was very exciting and stimulating. Going over and over was a difficult but fulfilling process. Once accepted, after the matching process, I met Christiana Gardikioti, who was to be my HE. I was pretty nervous on our first meeting, but she was very calm and we talked things over and I had a very good impression both of her and her business. I started all the paperwork and soon I was in Greece, where her business is located. Being in touch with the language and the culture in this way provided an excellent opportunity for me, because I was kind of living my dream. I was traveling in the Mediterranean region, in contact with the people and was able to work in a place that allowed me to grow both as a journalist and as an enterpreneur. I took part in lots of activities involving her business, which she runs very diligently, and there was a whole learning process about her business that I really enjoyed. The work environment was very friendly and the location of the bu­siness, a small town in the rural areas of the Peloponese, was ideal because of its beauty. It’s true that I was rather lonely not being a very populated region, I could not make a lot of friends outside work because of lack of young people of my age range, but I am not particularly prone to social life anyways. I felt comfor­table in any case. Precisely one of the things we agreed upon was to talk about the region and its problems (which pertained both to her and my project), and it was definitely amazing to be able to work there, surrounded by such a powerful landscape. Her unique knowledge of the area (in social, economic, linguistic and other cultural aspects) provided a perfect guidance for my interviews. I’m more trained in the visual and aesthetic aspects (cinematography, screenwriting), and her insights produced a perfect content, a nice balance between aesthetics and information/ content within the interviews. The same happened the other way around, because she lacked training in filmmaking and general marketing, I was able to bring to the table all sorts of sugges­tions and ideas concerning how to carry the interviews, how to edit them in order to improve the branding of the company, which is essential. So it was a fruitful combination from the start. The challenges I had to face as editor and consultant in marketing have indeed made me grow, and I definitely think that my skills have improved in this sense. Until you are in this sort of relationship, until you face the sort of problems that come across you in dealing with these things, you don’t know how you will react, you will never know if you are apt, if you are good enough, if your skills suffice. So now I’m not that pessimistic about my own project, I’m much more confident about my own achievements and I do think that being an enterpreneur, although not easy, is not impossible either. For me, this dream I had is not a dream anymore, I’m solving problems and taking the right steps to solve them and sort them out, and am able to generate income. I’ve gained hope.

Alejandro Colete Moya (NE): “This programme is an excellent experience. I’ve learned a lot not only concerning my job, but also about enterpreneurship itself, which is essential, because regardless of the business models, enterpreneurship is required, and this programme provides a very safe environment in which we can all practice without risking much. You come out of this experience bigger, smarter and readier to work.”

Christiana Gardikioti (HE): “It has been a very enhancing experience. We both gained by participating and the NE was a part of our inter­national team with worthwhile contributions made. This programme is one of the best in EU as it gives the opportunity of meaningful cultural, business and team building learning.”