The international exchange of the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurship Lab project saw thirty young people from Italy, Portugal, Latvia, Romania and Greece meet and live together for a week in the town of Oliveira de Azemeis, near Porto.
All the groups involved joined the project at a national level, adopting similar working methods, focused on youth entrepreneurship and innovation. This was therefore an opportunity to live an experience of sharing not only spaces and daily life, but also ideas, methods and cultures. In fact, if during the days we were working on sustainable business models, the evenings were focused on interculturality. Each group shared with the others their customs, their culinary traditions, as well as their stereotypes and "flaws".
The program of activities followed those of the national workshops, with the difference that the working groups were mixed and therefore it was necessary to work and interact in English, using technical terminology from the world of business and entrepreneurship. All the students did very well, bringing to light different but original ideas, which touched many areas of daily life: from food and technology to design and objects. It was necessary to study and evaluate the economic sustainability of the products and services created, through study models recognized by the business world as the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition. In conclusion, the participants also developed effective methods of communication and storytelling to tell their product/service, as well as the pitch, which is a very short presentation to be made in a few seconds on the American model of the elevator pitch.
There were also fun and playful moments. The second day on the schedule was dedicated to a visit to the town of Vagos and an afternoon on its beautiful ocean beach. The organization also planned a surf lesson and an aperitif with a beautiful sunset on the ocean. A few days later, we went to a nature reserve near the town of Estarreja for a bike tour of the park. Afterwards, the mayor received us in the City Council for the delivery of Youthpass certifications.
Our boys came to visit us in the office a few days later, and we took the opportunity to ask them for some “cold” impressions of the experience that involved them. We decided, for the sake of simplicity, to report one sentence for each of them.
- “During intercultural evenings I had a great time. At the Farewell Party we seemed to be lifelong friends, but we had only known each other for a week!”, Greta
- “Only flaw? It should have lasted longer!”, Christian
- “I loved the opportunity to work with people from different cultures, I ended up in the best group, we worked like crazy!”, John
- “I’ve always liked the theme of the project, since my father has a business, so I’m interested and I feel I’m directly involved. Being the only Italian in the working group, English is not my forte and the exchange gave me the opportunity to improve it”, Giulia
- “These experiences are always useful to open the mind and to grow as a person, it is not easy to acclimatize in such a short time in a new cultural context”, Arianna
- “I enjoyed learning about other countries and collaborating with people who, although different, had a common goal”, Giulia
- “It was nice to meet people of other nationalities and discover new aspects of their cultures!”, Silvia