Natalia explains her experience in Netherlands thanks to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme
Natalia is in Amsterdam since 24th of February doing her exchange with Willem Sodderland at Seamore thanks to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme. In addition, her case is a bit peculiar given the current situation we are going through worldwide with the Coronavirus because the rest of the entrepreneurs we have abroad are teleworking due to the measures taken by the different governments.
In the case of Natalia, she still going to the office and working as she has been doing since the beginning of the exchange. We wanted to know more about her situation and she tells us about her personal experience in Netherlands.
How did the idea of going to Amsterdam with this program come about? And, specifically, what struck you about your Willem's profile?
I wanted to learn about the entrepreneurial environment in another country since several months ago. With our Startup we were having a hard time advancing in Spain, mainly because of the regulations that exist, and a friend that I met on an accelerator told me about this program, he had done it in Holland too, although not in Amsterdam and he told me that it was a great experience, so I decided to do it.
At first, my idea was to do the program in the United States, because of the entrepreneurial environment there and the opportunities for collaboration, but for different reasons of timing it was not possible, so I decided to contact the projects that I found more interesting in Germany and Holland within the program. I focused on projects related to mine in some way or that had "sustainability" involved, since it is something I want to implement in my project.
Did you speak Dutch? Did the language pose any kind of obstacle?
I don't speak Dutch, although I'm trying to learn a little but it's complicated. Even so, it's not a handicap because the team speaks English, there are also different nationalities and in the Netherlands almost everyone speaks English, so it's not a problem.
Can you explain in a few words what your business plan is?
My project is to connect people who want to travel to a particular destination and have no one to do so with. So they are provided with the travel group and the trip adapted to their preferences.
You arrived on February 24th… When you arrived, was there talk of the coronavirus? Many entrepreneurs have decided to fragment their stay to return to the host company in a few months. In your case, it was clear to you that you wanted to continue in Amsterdam. How is this situation being experienced there?
There was some talk, but it was far away, just like in other countries. A few weeks later, when it started to grow in Italy, it was more talked about and since then it hasn't changed much here. In my case, I didn't want to fragment the stay since I'm very involved with the projects of this Quarter and besides, I'm learning a lot, so it didn't make much sense to stop now and then come back who knows when. On the other hand, we still work in the office so the only thing that really makes a difference to me with the coronavirus is the fact that I can't make big plans on the weekends, other than going for a bike ride or to some nature park.
How has this situation influenced your business exchange? Have there been any changes in the office?
As I mentioned above, as far as the business relationship is concerned, nothing has changed. The office is a Coworking where there are other related Startups, and the only change is that now the Coworking is practically for us because very few people come from the other companies.
And in your day to day?
From Monday to Friday it's the same routine, bike-work-bike-sleep, hahaha, but in the weekends is what I said before, I can't make big plans or trips.
How do you think this experience can influence your business plan?
On the one hand, it is a great learning experience and an internal analysis to better appreciate the SWOT and to take more into account external threats, because although it is true that a pandemic is not seen every day, there are certain "crises" that can be better analyzed and have contingency plans in case they occur.
In addition, I am learning team and management techniques from Startup that, while not applying to the business plan as such, are very good for teamwork and keeping everyone active.