Erasmus+ youth exchange “Start Up Hypothesis” took place this May on the Isle of Wight, England. The project involved 28 participants from 7 different countries, that came together to create their own startup’s, right there on the island. During 8 days, the participants had to deal with challenges, such as identifying the needs of the community, development of social projects, market research and how to implement ideas that can have a social impact through the Start up.
A lot of materials, ideas and initiatives came to life with the help of this project’s activities. Not only did we learn, but also connected, worked together, helped each other grow and offer support whenever it was needed. We explored, had fun, got lost, they laughed and cried, enjoyed every moment like it is and most important, we made the best out of it! But what a better way of getting deeper into the story, than hearing it straight from the participants?
“Not only we managed to get to know the other participants and their culture, but we also got to know ourselves. The intensity of the programme helped us realise that we are capable of achieving more than we think.” –
“My vision for the different cultures and how do they cooperate is forever changed after this project. I made a lot of important connections and gained a lot of practical knowledge which I will implement in my future projects.” –
” What this exchange brought me is a great satisfaction as well as new knowledge. I got to know many people with different cultures and mindsets. I got the opportunity to discover a new side of myself and learned how to cope with difficulties, that I had never met before. The eight days spent in the Isle of Wight teached me a lot in a new, funny and creative way.” –
“The project gave me the right amount of challenge that I needed. It forced me to step up and to break old patterns. After this experience I see resources I have never noticed before and I got inspired to create. I learned a lot about myself and how to challenge myself more, set bigger goals and connect with people to make my vision a reality.” –
“This particular training forward us into very intesive and productive environment, expanding our vision and mindset. We understood that even very hard and complex projects can be executed in hours if you have a good team next to you. Erasmus+ is a great programme which makes the European Union stronger by sharing and promoting its great values and vision.” –
DONATAS, LT There were 5 of us from Lithuania who participated in a Start Up Hypothesis project in Isle of Wight. In an informal way, we were taught multiple aspects to what is it like to be an entrepreneur and how to become one. We all agreed that the project was fully informative and productive. The greatest experience of the project was to think and act as we were already entrepreneurs. Not only we had a chance to create a vision for our start ups, but also test it, improve it in various ways, as well as ourselves, throughout the whole project. We learnt that an entrepreneur has to take full responsibility for his or her personal growth, which was the leading learning tool for us at this project. We also experienced that self evaluation is very important for entrepreneurs in order to manage stress and other feelings on the way. For that, the leaders have often reminded us to celebrate even little achievements, so we learn to be self motivated and never stop moving forward. Another beautiful thing we have experienced is working close in groups with other people. Each task we did was formed in different groups, meaning, work with different people, therefor it was challenging enough to adjust to everyone in the group and follow the same vision. Nevertheless, the experience have thought us that people have different tempo and it is important to find a compromise with those whom you are working together. Not to mention, that entrepreneur is always surrounded by people in need or those, who are willing to collaborate with an idea, therefore experience on teamwork learnt at this project will definitely be applied in our future. All in all, at this project we had an ability not only to create and share our own ideas of social start ups but also test it in practice by introducing to other project participants and locals at the Isle of Wight. By doing that, we also found out many examples and new ideas for social activities which we are willing to apply in our own country. Thank you for such a great experience to you all, – THE LITHUANIAN TEAM
KONSTANTINA, GR You never know how it will end up until you make the decision and stick with it. The same is true with youth exchange programs. From the moment you make the decision to join, book your tickets, organize and finally arrive where the program takes place, all you can feel is impatience and curiosity. And in a magical way this curiosity has, if not always, positive results. And when the subject of the program has so much to offer as well as the participants, the results are even more spectacular. This program was all motivational for us. The name, the location and even the participating countries. And that’s how it all started. Starting from different parts of Europe, all having a common destination and a common goal. Get to Isle of Wight and for 9 days to experience what appeared on our way. The name of the program was “Start-up Hypothesis,” and all we could do was suppose what we would win through it. Using recreational educational methods, we learned a lot about entrepreneurship and start-up businesses. We first learned how to organize our thinking and how to set a goal, whether it is big and touches the boundaries of the fiction, whether it is small but at the same time realistic. Proper organization and methods were two of the main tools of our progress. One of these was to spread our ideas. To achieve this, we used methods such as “elevation speech” as well as promotional videos. But the most important thing we gained through this entertaining way of learning was the spirit of collaboration and teamwork. How to perceive and at the same time respect the needs of the team and work with them. In the same spirit of cooperation and teamwork we had to live in a youth hostel which eventually became our home. Young people from 7 different countries managed to get along and like a big family, to spend beautiful moments that will become a beautiful memory for everyone. Our experience of looking after ourselves first and foremost, caring for others and our home will be unforgettable and useful for the rest of our lives. Finally, we owe a great thank you to the organizers of the program, to its contributors and to our favorite cook. What will be engraved in the memories of all is how important it is not the party or who you share an experience with. It is important to create your own experiences, to collect your own knowledge and to learn to use it in your everyday life. – THE GREEK TEAM
“It has been a surprising and challenging journey – I mean both positively. First, my expectations have been challenged: where I thought to enter a formal training course, I entered a flexible learning path with a soon-to-be group of friends. Yes, my biggest surprise has been to meet all these wonderful people from Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Spain, and laugh so hard! I had never done a youth exchange project of the sort before and it has given me much more than I expected.
Not only have I got a chance to reflect on start-up ideas, learn digital skills and immerse in the team-work spirit, but also had a blast walking all over the island, learning Lithuanian and having both nonsense and meaningful talks with other entrepreneurs-in-the-making. This is not the kind of learning I am used to – hard deadlines, an overwhelming amount of materials and detailed plans. And I am grateful for that, learning should be fun and engaging! Those were holidays compared to my day to day life back to Edinburgh, but I have made more connections in 10 days than in a year! My biggest take-away? Embrace the warmth of people, their knowledge, their energy – this is where the entrepreneurial magic happens!” – PELA, UK
“Seven countries all around Europe came together for one common aim; to explore and create our very own experience and knowledge about Start-Up Hypothesis. Nine days full of life learning and life changing moments. Coming to the Isle of Wight in the U.K. I was wondering how things will work for me out and what I will face at this program. By the end of the program it was clear to me that the this was a life changing experience with hundreds of moments that will stay deep in my memories.
The most important thing I have learnt during those magical nine days is the To-Do Attitude. I also learned how to work with other people, listen to them, communication, respect and self-care. I could definitely say that I became a more aware person in many perspectives, both professionally and personally. This is one of the best experiences I had so far while learning and experiencing. I feel that I created a new family full of young people with the same passion and vision about life and start ups. I can say that I am a better, more open and optimistic person with a lot of motivation in my bag for when I will go back home. For the end, I would love to suggest the young people to participate at least one time in their lives in an Erasmus plus project. You will not regret it” – ANASTASIA, UK
RENZO, IT We learned the meaning of the entrepreneurship and what does it mean to be an entrepreneur focused on social problems, interacting with the community in order to get inspirations and inspire. The project used a very unconventional approach, based on the new learning opportunities like elearning platforms and the non- formal education, thanks to them the participants reach their personal goals. This kind of activities for young Italians represent a unique opportunity to learn how entrepreneurship works, developing soft skills that are crucial in the contemporary world to start and promote their own activity. Moreover this kind of projects offer the possibility to discover not only another country, but also a lot of different cultures. – THE ITALIAN TEAM
“My name is Agustin Ranu and I am a Finance student at ASE Bucharest. Startup hypothesis for me was a great opportunity to extend my boundaries and to develop my team-working skills. I would encourage all my colleagues to also participate, I am sure that it will be a rich experience also for you”. –
“My name is Georgiana Dănciulescu and I am a Physiotherapy student at the Ovidius University of Constanța. This project has helped me to improve my communication skills in English and cooperation with people. This project was amazing for me because it opened new opportunities and also made me develop new personal skills”. –
“I am Maricica Velicoglo, currently student at ASE Bucharest. One of my hobbies is to be surrounded by international people, with whom I can feel free and from whom I can learn a lot. This is why I am part of ESN and I don’t want to stop this journey. This project helped me to improve a lot of competences and skills.” –
“I got to be sincere: I didn’t know sh#t about entrepreneurship or startups: I came here to meet new people, go abroad and learn something about this topic. But what I found was something much bigger. I found adventure. I found fun. I found true love. And I finally found myself out of my comfort zone.” –
“This experience was amazing for me. I learnt a lot of about entrepreneurship while in the same time I met people that became my friends. I had an extra role, but it was so easy for me because everybody has the same objective and the same mood to create an unforgettable experience.” –
“Through this project I have learn new methods of non-formal education applied in the entrepreneurial field. Having the opportunity to experience working in teams with international people and apply it in the social context of the Isle of Wight, have been a great experience.” –
“I really enjoyed this new approach of learning during this project. I got to meet new people and parts of myself that I haven’t met before. I could develop myself in my own rhythm and help others in their process as well. I was given a new perspective and I can’t wait to experience life through these glasses.” –