Thursday, 4 December 2014

Second Transnational Meeting - YEA Project

This was it! After longer time period in the project we had finally a meeting and training with our partners. Just before that I had opportunity to speak to Dirk and so we got really clear idea how to cooperate with partners on something useful, young, fun and effective! And how to choose appropriate team for this meeting&training.
I was really looking forward to this meeting - we are developing one more business idea and I really
wanted to boost my entrepreneurial skills. Our evening arrival to Paris was nice, especially the weather. All week was so nice and sunny, it was little bit hard to stay all day in the meeting room :) Thanks to our partners we had accommodation basically in the city center in an old monastery. Unfortunately the wifi was not working the first night so we welcomed the opportunity to explore local area, full of bars, crepes and small restaurants. In the morning we waited for all partners and together went to the offices of Apprentis d'Auteuil - it is very big organization! Everything was nicely noted so we found the meeting room quickly and met our hosts, including smiling Jean-Marie we met in UK. First day was tough, we had to recapitulate financial rules and also loads of administration documents.

We all went really tired, but some of us decided to walk from there, underneath the Eifel tower that in the dark started to sparkle and then, in already cold evening we finally found our metro station - but our destination was restaurant near the monastery where we continued in our talks about the project and developed ideas further with nice glass of French wine. Second day was more interesting - we took our time to go deep in tools and methodologies that can be used for training entrepreneurs - especially Business Model Canvas. We had presentation of best practice from Dirk from Hatch incubator, Carmen from Ashford place and Thorsten from iqConsult - all many years successfully supporting entrepreneurs.

We prepared everything for practical session since we had in plan using some methods for starting our incubators in partner countries - based on the best practice from UK and Germany. That was the next day's agenda - we started earlier and start working on Customers, Customer relationships and Channels, then also Stakeholders and Activities ... 3 groups for 3 countries (Slovakia, France and Italy) supported by 3 experienced experts used group brainstorming techniques to put many ideas on the board. By the end of the day we had much better idea about our environment and opportunities&challenges.

This was the longest day finishing very late and followed by very nice program prepared by our hosts - walk in the center and then very nice dinner in themed restaurant - we are really thankful for that! The last day we finalized all work packages overview, we agreed on next steps, and after 4 days of hard work we closed the meeting. It was really nice and fulfilling experience and I hope there would be opportunities to make such great meetings in the future. Thanks to our hosts and project partners for creating amazing, creative, professional and friendly atmosphere!
Martin Kubis – K.A.B.A. Slovensko (Slovakia)

We attended the Train the Coordinators Meeting & general project management meeting of the “Youth Enterprise Accelerator” happened in Paris, from 9th – 13th November. This has been my second time to Paris only, and never in a work/ business capacity. Many months and weeks of planning have gone into this meeting and we were excited to see our partners again. For us, Ashford Place and One Planet Ventures, the journey to Paris was pretty straightforward. We took the Eurostar to Paris from Kings Cross and a couple of hours later we were there.

The first day was spent on project administration/ management and we got to know our recently recruited external evaluator Mr Jean-Luc Moreau. The meetings took place at Apprentis D’Auteuil’s HQ, a large group of buildings on this 150 year old foundation. We met with the General Director of the foundation, François Content, in the afternoon. He was intrigued by the developments and generally interested in our work of establishing youth enterprise incubator programmes in some of the locations AD works in (such as Marseille).

On the second day we started the training of the other coordinators and we shared our different approaches to business incubation that the 3 experienced partners, iq consult (Germany), Ashford Place (UK) and One Planet Ventures (UK) are following. The approaches vary in some degrees with iq consult & One Planet Ventures being more aligned, following a formal programme (eg 12-week incubator programme + follow-on support), whereas Ashford Place’s support is more longer-term but also less formalised. Common elements of all enterprise support programmes included:
  • Workshops & sessions on business development
  • Mentoring/ coaching of entrepreneurs
  • Space provision (office space, making space, retail space where possible)
Unique elements of OPV’s incubator programme called HATCH (, include back-offise support, helping entrepreneurs to focus on their business enabling them to “buy-in” support around book keeping, legal, marketing etc.

The training for the coordinators also focused on understanding the Business Model Canvass (BMC) as a tool for exploring business models. It’s a good starting position for entrepreneurs to be able to frame and later communicate their business idea using either a digital or offline version of the BMC. The third day was spent using the BMC to frame the incubators in the other countries, Slovakia, Italy and France. All countries worked in their teams and by the end of the day we had supersized BMC’s for all countries explaining how they can implement their incubators in their specific countries. The last day was spent going through an Action Plan and fixing important project deadlines for the various pieces of work in the coming quarter.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in France and are looking forward to working with our partners to support them to establish their own Youth Enterprise Accelerators/ Incubators for young entrepreneurs.
Dirk Bischof – One Planet Ventures (UK)

Project meeting YEA in Paris this November was my first experience with international project. It was very interesting experience (also because of beautiful Paris) but also very valuable and enriching taking account the working and training side - Already several years I am working with support of start-up entrepreneurs, especially women doing business in Slovakia, I am trainer of marketing, doing seminars for smaller companies and entrepreneurs.

The possibility to learn about newly created functioning support for entrepreneurs in other countries, about starting and first experience about Hatch incubator in London was really great and I believe we will be able to copy the success and start similar center in Slovakia. I really appreciate also 3 days about theoretical but a lot of practical experience about Business Model Canvas, that shared with us colleagues from Germany, who are already working in the field entrepreneurship (also for disadvantaged) for more than 10 years.

 Everything we discussed were things, that can help young Slovak people considering starting their own business - and believe that next year we will be able to help them in our incubator.

I would also like to thank Martin Kubis from K.A.B.A.Slovakia, who offered me to participate on this interesting European project, and it would be really great if we can continue also further, because support for youth entrepreneurs in Slovakia is never enough!
Silvia Milova – K.A.B.A. Slovensko (Slovakia)

"Traveling to sunny Paris for the YEA meeting and training was a great opportunity to get updates on the project, and was nice to meet new contacts from countries like Germany, France, Italy and England. I felt excited finding out about the Youth Enterprise Accelerator project, because it feels great to work on a project with group of people, who willing to help and develop an incubator for young entrepreneurs in need to enhance their career, or accelerate their business.

The main aspect of the meeting was training about how to use tools and modules, such as Business Model Canvas, and adjust it to its own business, or specific needs, e.g.: countries, local community. It was very useful to hear from the partners of the YEA project, what are their experience from creating, or setting up an incubator, and how they managed such platforms in social environment.

I spent great time in Paris, that have motivated me, and also satisfied my visual experience. Paris is a great city to explore. It was not my first time there, but it is always new and fresh when I look at billboards and marketing/ promotional style that is unique, identifying, and so different to country like Slovakia as an example.
Tatiana Goldmannova – K.A.B.A. Slovensko (Slovakia)