Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Success Story
New Entrepreneur (NE): Diana Florescu
Sector: Information Services
Name of business: Grai Group
Host Entrepreneur (HE): Ahmad Piraiee
Sector: Information Services
Name of business: Thirty3
Details of exchange:
Date of exchange: 1st of June – 31st of August 2021
Duration of exchange: 3 months
Specific activity/sector of exchange: Information Services, Marketing
Diana Florescu (NE) is a marketing professional who has worked at all marketing levels up to CxO. After spending the last six years helping small and large organizations with their marketing and branding strategies, in 2020 she decided to start her own business. As an entrepreneur, her motivation for participating in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme is developing her business. She saw this programme as an opportunity to learn and develop new strategies and innovation concepts by working on a variety of company situations and being exposed to new startup ecosystems.
She expected to develop herself as an entrepreneur and apply key business principles into practice. She saw the programme as an excellent opportunity to research potential markets, get to know working conditions abroad, and become familiar with legislation concerning running a business and working abroad. Besides business goals, she was looking forward to growing her professional network, getting to know different countries and cultures, and opening new horizons.
She heard about EYE from her co-founder, Stefan Koritar, who has been recently accepted to undertake an exchange programme in Barcelona, Spain.
Ahmad Piraiee (HE) is the Country Manager at thirty3, a team of teams that leverage domain expertise and data literacy through design, research, and technology. A focus on the perfect interaction between people and technology enables them to create great products that make people’s lives easier and will allow them to focus on things that truly matter. The team is spread across two continents, with offices in Switzerland, Poland, and Mexico.
Ahmad was looking for a marketer with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to help shape the marketing strategy at thirty3 whilst defining a go-to-market strategy for his new HoReCa venture.
As an active ecosystem player mentoring startups, organizing tech events, and running his own tech business, he has been exposed to multiple initiatives run by the European Union. He read about the EYE programme and thought that it fits perfectly with his needs of getting a few important projects off the ground whilst helping the NE develop his own startup.
During the exchange, there were various and distinctive activities where both entrepreneurs had to bring up their best, such as:
- Creating a growth marketing plan for the HE’s business to build brand recognition and grow the community online.
- Involving the NE in the development of a new service run by the HE’s company – a mobile application for the HoReCa sector; As part of this new initiative, the NE has helped evaluate various opportunities, which included market analysis, stakeholder interviews, and initial customer development; The NE focussed particularly on customer development researching and developing the target persona for this mobile application, creating value proposition canvases, and establishing an initial digital marketing experimentation plan to help HE test and validate hypotheses.
- Exchange ideas and technological trends between Poland as the biggest economy in CEE and Romania as the rising star.
Benefits and Impact, from the new entrepreneur’s perspective
- Organized two ecosystem events during the duration of the exchange programme (attracted an audience of 200+ business leaders); Both participants agreed to continue running more mutual events and podcasts to provide content and connect two ecosystems to create more added values;
- NE contributed directly to the development of the MVP of a new HoReCa service owned by HE and which already received 30,000 PLN in committed funding. The mobile application has the opportunity to grow into a multimillion-euro startup.
- The HE will be appointed as a strategic advisor for the NE’s business. HE was part of two strategy meetings with the NE and NE’s co-founder sharing his business expertise and guiding the two as they make some pivotal changes in their services and team structure. It has been agreed to continue with bi-weekly meetings during the months to come.
- The NE met multiple local professionals in Poland, and a few may evolve into future collaborations and investments.
“The EYE programme opened new opportunities for partnerships and cross-borders collaborations. By working alongside Ahmad (HE) I got to meet other startup studios and investors. Startup studios are a relatively new type of business model, everyone active in this field is dealing with a lot of experimentation and managing constant iterations. I learned about their approach to structuring and running their business and agreed to explore future projects together.
Participating in two international events, being part of an innovation campus (Cambridge Innovation Centre) during the duration of the programme and joining other startup meetups (e.g. Startup Grind), these are activities that led to making new valuable connections.
I also decided to involve Ahmad in some of the projects we started at Grai. He contributed directly to the success of signing a new client during the exchange programme and acted as a trusted advisor to myself and my business partner helping us make better strategic decisions. I learned a great deal about product management and capacity planning by shadowing Ahmad at his work. Some of these principles are now being implemented at Grai to optimise our internal operations.
At the same time, I contributed directly to the development of a new MVP of a HoReCa mobile application spearheaded by HE. The initiative received an initial round of funding and the HE is now recruiting software development talent to build the application. This may result in new job creation and additional revenue for HE.” (Diana Floresc, the NE)
“A great programme if you are planning on launching or have already been working on your start-up for a while! It would help you grow as an entrepreneur as well. Cordelia, our EYE IO representative, was very supportive helping me navigate through the entire process. Definitely recommended!”
“My motivation for joining the EYE programme was to inject a fresh perspective into my organisation. From generating new ideas to contributing directly to the growth of my business, NE exceeded my expectations. It was a well-organised and valuable experience, and I would definitely consider applying again.“