Magdalena and Torcuato count their exchange with the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme during the COVID-19 crisis
Magdalena, a young entrepreneur who has been in Seville since February doing her business exchange at Ozein, thanks to the Erasmus program for Young Entrepreneurs, tells us about her experience in first person.
"Have you ever had the impression that you only know that you belong to one place? This is exactly what happened to me when I first arrived in Spain. The food, the culture, the people. All these things made me fall in love in this country. I knew that one day, when I felt ready, I would come back again and organize my life. Anyway, while I was finishing my master some new goals appeared. I became more ambitious, which made me think about creating a human resources company. The only thing that always kept me behind was the insufficient knowledge of the foreign market and the lack of adequate preparation to create a company.
I learned about the program many months ago from my friend who just finished her cooperation. Her fascination and positive feedback encouraged me to send in my application and see what happened.
As soon as I was accepted, I started looking for a host (HE). A few weeks later, I started cooperating with Torcuato Luca de Tena Martin-Ballesteros at Ozein Cloud Services where I have been working since February 25th.
Unfortunately, after three weeks we could not continue our cooperation in the office. Due to the Coronavirus situation we were forced to start our work from home. Despite all the fears, our cooperation is very successful. Thanks to daily calls and online meetings we catch up with new ideas and tasks, and it does not prevent me from learning new things about managing a company. We even work in Spanish, the team has been very helpful since the first day I started my exchange.
The coronavirus, when I entered Spain, it goes without saying that it has affected my daily life. Due to the closure for a couple of weeks I could not leave the house, only if necessary. The situation is improving every day and, with the phases we are entering, the rules are less and less strict. Right now, we can go for a walk or play sports. Although we are not sure when we will return to our office, we have decided to extend our cooperation for another two months.
Cooperating with Torcuato and the whole team helps me gain experience that I haven't had the chance to gain before. My business plan is becoming clearer, as is my vision and plans for the future. The mission of my future company is to connect employers and employees through innovative solutions, offering high efficiency and quality of services provided. Thanks to the experience and what I learned from Ozein, I believe that sooner or later I will be able to put the plan into action.
And what are the benefits of our cooperation?
I work with a successful and experienced entrepreneur who helps me to acquire practical knowledge about the main aspects of managing my own company. My daily tasks are related to marketing, communication with customers, etc., which gives me an insight into many fields. What's more, daily communication in a given language is great practice, as long as an advanced level of Spanish is required when running my business abroad, and mainly when acquiring clients and partners.
In short, even if we cooperate from our own homes, it does not interfere with our daily work. In fact, it helps to manage our work, to find a balance between work and private life, and to organize all tasks. In any case, we all hope that the situation will soon improve and we can return to our previous form of cooperation.
On his side, Torcuato, our host in the program, says that this situation is not having a negative impact on the company since, in general, they work online. They have established a routine from the first day, as they meet with most of the team through video calls once in the morning and once in the afternoon. According to the entrepreneur, "the performance is still very good".
As for Magdalena's incorporation into the company, Torcuato has only good words for the young entrepreneur, since, even though they did not need to fill the position, this type of exchange always "brings added value to the company". In addition, he highlights the girl's proactivity and her quick adaptation to the team.
Despite not working in person, they meet to tutor her, explain how the management system of an SME is, how budgets work, how to follow up on the business plan, analyze the company's KPIs to see what is going well and what is going badly, all of which are fundamental aspects for improving Magdalena's business plan.
Another aspect that caught Torcuato's attention was her level of Spanish since, as he indicates, the first interview was in English but from then on, all communication has been in Spanish.
However, Torcuato says that the program falls short and that it should last at least a year to get to know the full cycle of a company better.
As far as returning to the office is concerned, he does not plan to do so at the moment, since, as the employer indicates, "if the employees were not performing, the return would be planned, but the people are performing". In addition, he stresses that, thanks to teleworking "people have gained in quality of life. There are people who take an hour to get to the office and then lose another hour to go home. There are also those who have small children and have to go and take them somewhere for a while. They can stop and continue working 15 minutes later. Telework is here to stay, maybe there will be a mixed format".