After spending 18 weeks in Barcelona for the "Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs" programme organised by the European Commission, the young Brussels-born entrepreneur Erdman is more ready than ever to embark on his entrepreneurial adventure. Here is an account of his experience in Barcelona.
As my life philosophy is to make the most of every moment including in my professional life, my dream has always been to make one of the things I am passionate about into a career, and ideally as an entrepreneur, which fits perfectly with my adventurous and creative spirit. Being able to create, to travel in order to discover things and oneself, and to share enriching experiences with people from diverse backgrounds are just some of the reasons driving young entrepreneurs.
During my time at a recording studio in Paris, I was able to identify as yet unexplored opportunities in a changing market with great potential. So based on this realisation and various encounters with people I met, I had the idea of creating my business JUST MAKE HIT, which can be summarised in two words: Music and Business.
JUST MAKE HIT is a start-up specialised in digital communications, marketing, and events in urban music. Our services are primarily aimed at urban music artists and companies targeting young, urban & international audiences.
Our objectives are to professionalise the world of independent music artists, to create new business opportunities between artists and brands, and to develop musical branding strategies for brands who want to strengthen their image, distinguish themselves, and diversify their operations.
All projects require preparation… And it took me a few years to plan my project, with business management training, an initial entrepreneurial experience in Brazil, and various workshops in Brussels. It was actually when I was taking part in a workshop at the ABE-impulse.brussels that I discovered the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” programme.
I was immediately won over by this programme which is a golden opportunity for young European entrepreneurs to develop the entrepreneurial skills required to manage their business. On the one hand, being faced with a professional challenge in an unfamiliar socio-cultural context enables you to develop personal skills such as self-confidence, leadership, autonomy... On the other hand, you are entrusted with responsibilities and tasks which enable you to learn and develop your entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, the programme provides the opportunity to network abroad and with it the opportunity to develop your business in new markets.
It was important to find a host company with shared common values where I could express my creativity more easily and combine autonomy with teamwork. During this company research stage, BEA-impulse.brussels' support, through Ms Nadine Bettens (the BEA-impulse.brussels programme manager), provided me with vital help. Far beyond the administrative level, their support was also moral, with encouragement and helpful advice before, during, and after my experience in Barcelona. I would like to thank her and all of the BEA-impulse.brussels team for their work, not only in the context of this programme but also for the efforts they make to promote entrepreneurial spirit and support entrepreneurs in the Brussels region.
I had the opportunity to work in the heart of the host company MOB (Makers Of Barcelona), who, as well as being a co-working space bringing together over a hundred entrepreneurs of different nationalities and from different sectors, are an SME promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and the concept of “DO IT YOURSELF" to young people through various workshops and events.
In a difficult economic climate, it's important to train young people with the skills which correspond to labour market demands, and even to develop the knowledge needed to enable them to create their own jobs, notably in the web sector. In response to this need, MOB & IronHack came together to co-organise the free WeCode BCN event for which I was the project manager.
As a project manager, my work involved writing sponsorship and contract documents, drawing up the communications strategy with the head of communications, finding partners, recruiting volunteers, organising the schedule, and supervising the team's work within the time and human resources constraints of the project.
Organising such a project without financial resources to begin with was an interesting challenge, and ingenuity was needed to convince both sponsors and media partners, thanks to whom the event gained visibility on a national scale. I met several participants from different towns in Spain and was particularly proud to see so much enthusiasm and hear so much positive feedback.
The event, which was broadcast on national television and covered by several media outlets, was an out-and-out success with over 300 participants (which was the maximum capacity) and a waiting list of several hundred other people for a potential second event.
From a professional point of view, organising such a project enabled me to strengthen my entrepreneurial qualities, to identify and improve my weaknesses, and above all to learn from working in a team with my host entrepreneur, Cecilia Tham, founder of MOB, as a mentor.
It was a chance to put into practice the theoretical knowledge I had acquired during my business management training, while also familiarising myself with new tools which now help me manage my own projects. Additionally, the experiences I had with other entrepreneurs using the co-working space enabled me to improve certain aspects of my project and, better still, to find the partners with whom I am currently working.
Working in a different cultural context also helped me to acknowledge the importance of including the socio-cultural elements of a market when drawing up the marketing strategy.
From a personal point of view, I was pleasantly surprised by the city of Barcelona, its energy, its cultural diversity, and obviously its climate and beaches, all of which explains people's zest for life in Mediterranean countries. It's easier to meet people there and to share mutually enriching experiences.
In conclusion, I would say that taking part in the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” programme will be extremely useful for the next part of my entrepreneurial adventure. It was a more than enjoyable experience during which I learned a lot. I can highly recommend this programme to any young entrepreneurs seeking to learn and strengthen their skills.