Marina Došen Jan wanted to open a new tourism enterprise called ECOTOURISM RETREAT with primary service of the accommodation of guests. She had several years of experience in working in a small company and local community, but she didn’t know, and wanted to learn, how to manage and lead a company, promote it, get customers and also improve her skills which would be very important for a successful start and sustainable functioning her new company. So Marina entered the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs exchange programme and found Aleš Erbežnik, an experienced director and manager from Slovenia, who runs a social enterprise called Food for Life Global. They both knew that they can only benefit from the exchange by building on networking and sharing the knowledge that would eventually lead them to new costumer markets. Aleš, as a experienced entrepreneur, also wanted to offer training for Marina in fields of coordination managements, robots, marketing, organisation, international markets and social entrepreneurship in relation to people with disabilities.
During her stay in Slovenia, Marina was working on a several projects. She was mainly helping with administrative tasks related to volunteering at FFL Global and with Erasmus Plus projects, where she attended conferences and fairs about tourism, yoga and healthy lifestyle. She also prepared curriculum for Bhakti Yoga Association and Komorebi project, and learned how to use CRM tools. Marina assisted with volunteer database and application for EVS accreditation for Host Entrepreneur and regularly updated the volunteering database. Her daily task included Identifying strategic planning measures and the use of management tools (software, procedures); learning and gaining competences in customer relationship management tools, identifying demand conditions, and the tourism packages or groups and individuals, marketing and advertising strategy.
Benefits for both Marina and Aleš were significant. Marina learned a lot for Aleš and gained experience that will equip her with the competences and skills needed to open and run her own business. She gained competences in customer relationship management tools that she will in her activities. One of her biggest role was being a part of a team that prepared EVS accreditation that helped expand the possibilities for volunteering and social enteprise models at her host entrepreneurs organisation. On the other hand, Aleš expanded his social entrepreneurship activities and also improved the HR and teaching and learning processes for staff and volunteers. One of the outcome is also accreditation for Woofers, EVS and Workaway for both Aleš and Marina. With all that experience gained, Marina will have a lot easier path on opening her new business.