MobiliseSME consortium meets for the first time in person!

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After almost two years of working on the programme and meeting exclusively virtually due to the pandemic, the MobiliseSME consortium was finally able to meet face-to-face for the first time!

The Transnational Project Meeting, which took place on 27-28 April in Valencia (Spain), was a great success and a key event for the proper continuity and management of MobiliseSME.

Apart from that, it was a pleasure to be able to meet in person after almost 2 years of trying without success.

Key aspects of the meeting

The meeting focused on:

– Improving effectiveness in coordinating and supporting SMEs and other profiles of MobiliseSME participants;

– Exchanging of profiles and information on European markets and SME status;

– Working on the extension of the programme.

Now, let’s turn to some key figures:

– At the moment, more than 800 companies have participated in the programme;

– The consortium has supported, through the Local Contact Points, more than 140 companies in their search for partners at European level;

– Behind MobiliseSME there are 12 European organisations that monitor it, exchange best practices and continuously improve the implementation of the programme.

MobiliseSME

Fundación Equipo Humano (the organising entity of this meeting), as co-coordinator and leader in exchanges and registered companies in Spain, continuously shares knowledge and best practices with the other MobiliseSME partners.

Examples of best practices include helping those locations and partners that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as being able to detect differences between countries and apply common solutions.

Next stop: Serbia!

The upcoming meeting will take place on 3 and 4 November in Novi Sad (Serbia) and will be organised by the partner Business Incubator Novi Sad.

We all know that new technologies shorten distances and allow us to carry out projects and collaborations with international partners.

However, let’s not forget that physical meetings are essential to establish and strengthen links between people and organisations, which improve the communication, agility and efficiency of the team.

This is also the essence of the MobiliseSME programme, as we enable EU SMEs to strengthen their international partnerships, expand their networks and enhance synergies, making the EU more economically and socially cohesive.

To achieve stable and lasting international alliances, we need in-person collaborations and, therefore, MobiliseSME!

 

«The whole idea of MobiliseSME is brilliant, especially as one-person companies and cultural workers are considered»

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Barbara Fellgiebel is a Swedish entrepreneur, owner of the company Magiska Författarresor, who has participated in MobiliseSME as a Sending Company.

Thanks to the programme, Barbara has been able to collaborate for 6 months in Berlin with Dr. Clara Mavellia, founder and head of the Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute Berlin, who has participated as Host Company.

After their mobility period through MobiliseSME, we have interviewed them to tell us about their participation:

– Please, Barbara, tell us a bit about your company and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?

My company Magiska Författarresor organises trips for writers who live and write in Sweden,  in order to meet colleagues in other European countries.

So far, we have been to Berlin, Leipzig, Reykjavik, Faro and Helsinki. Not to mention the numerous constellations of smaller writers groups between the involved countries.

The outcome has been bilingual literary salons as well as the publishing of two anthologies: 

· Barndom I Sverige – Kindheit in Deutschland ISBN 978-91-519-0237-1, by Swedish and German writers.

· HEMVIST ISBN 978-3-939385-07-3, by Finnish and Swedish writers. 

We also arrange a variety of literary events in Sweden, Germany and Portugal. Since the arrival of Covid, we have started with Zoom projects and been able to incorporate participants in countries all over Europe.

On the other hand, we closely cooperate with the Swedish organisation Litteraturrundan – a society of writers that we co-founded in 2013. We also plan a project with the V.STN:ORT Festiwal 2022 in Poland.

I was and am thrilled to have encountered an EU project that includes cultural activities and acknowledges the need for financial support for cultural workers.

Lastly, I decided to participate in MobiliseSME through personal contact with a partner organisation already registered in the programme.

– And how about you, Clara? Please, tell us about your company and how you found out about the MobiliseSME programme.

The Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute Berlin has 12 years experience in hosting events and producing meaningful digital content.

Furthermore, I would say I am a kind of influencer for ethical principles and democratic values, as well as a cultural entrepreneur. I have been able to tighten relationships with eminent academics, exemplary entrepreneurs and committed women and men all over Europe.

In 2017, the Institute started the project EU Women in order to strengthen women’s rights and democracy in Europe. According to Gloria Steinem, you can’t empower women without listening to their stories. That’s why the focus of the work project was on collecting and diffusion of women’s stories (memoir).

Through shared emotions we can understand and appreciate Europe. We started to acquire women and men willing to participate and planned to expand the resonance of the project. At the same time, we wished to develop skills in the field of digital marketing to generate profit,  inter alia a digital shop where to sell the stories.

When I heard about the MobiliseSME programme from my daughter Isabella I thought this is exactly what we need.

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company, Barbara? Would you repeat the MobiliseSME experience?

It furthered my networking into other fields of business. Among others, Clara introduced me to the large network Üpfi, a legendary group of female politicians and highly committed women in various fields of business and activities supporting democracy and human rights in Berlin. I became a member of Üpfi and had a fabulous increase in my personal network. 

On the other hand, I would recommend any time to participate in MobiliseSME and I would gladly repeat this business experience. As a writer, I can easily work in other countries and the experience from a different culture, language and surroundings certainly provides a lot of necessary inspiration, ideas, contacts and possibilities.

Due to Covid and, thus, various periods of lockdown and inflicted isolation, the outcome of the secondment was unexpectedly restricted, more relying on internet contacts than on planned and expected personal encounters in real life.

The war in Ukraine has given yet another completely unexpected dimension to the secondment.

– Clara, please, briefly describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with Barbara. How did the process go?

Barbara and I first met at an event hosted in 2019 by my Institute in Berlin: “EU Women” at Z-Bar, where different women read their stories related to World War II.

The moving stories reminded us how crucial the European Union is for the peaceful coexistence of people that only a few decades before were killing each other. The event was a great success and EU Women signed a monthly schedule with the Z-Bar.

Inspired by Elena Ferrante, EU Women also planned a creative writing journey to Ischia in the early summer 2020. As Barbara has a large network I asked her if she’d like to cooperate. She was very positive, so we made a plan. Shortly after sending the invitations, we had the first application and payment.

When the pandemic hit Italy and Europe, I had to cancel the events in the Z-Bar and we also had to cancel the journey to Ischia.

After a couple of months, I discovered Zoom and asked Barbara to cooperate in starting a creative writing workshop via Zoom and, actually, we had a good start. In order to propagate the stories, I started to record them during our Zoom meetings and post them on the EU Women YouTube channel.

When I heard about MobiliseSME, I realised this was a great opportunity to work closer. So I asked Barbara how about coming to Berlin. She was really enthusiastic about it also because she had already planned a literary event in September at Terzo Mondo in Berlin.

MobiliseSME

– Barbara, how has this collaboration helped you to develop yourself and your company? With which knowledge, techniques or information have you contributed to the Host Company? Which functions and responsibilities did you have during this collaborative period?

As a Sending Company, I found it extremely interesting to work and live in a different country and experience the very different daily life and working routines. Due to the Covid pandemic, many personal contacts and gatherings were not possible and had to be conducted online. Thus, the Covid threat affected me personally. I became less productive, less willing to meet new people, deal with new challenges, etc.

However, I increased my technical knowledge with regards to making videoclips, improving lightning, sound, setting, sending clips… thanks to the encouraging guidance and knowledge of Clara.

Moreover, the Institute has actively participated in a literature salon in Berlin as well as been published in the most recent anthology (Jetzt Erst Recht ISBN 987-3-939385-17-2), issued by my company. My Host Company will even participate in a forthcoming anthology called Wind Of Change.

Week by week I improved with many ups and downs my technical skills in hosting Zoom conferences and workshops. I even started a monthly occurring literary platform all over Europe under the name of Alfa Zoom.

With the arrival of Omicron and the increasing fear and unwillingness of personal encounters, more and more participants started to find and appreciate the benefit of the many new and unusual digital formats.

In addition, in spite of various restrictions, I managed to go to Munich in order to acquire more women who wanted to tell us their stories.

Finally, I participated in the Frankfurt Book fair, which due to COVID restrictions was a very unusual experience. In this event, I managed to recruit new participants to our project and was delighted to learn that the 2022 guest country will be Spain!

– Clara, how do you think this collaboration with the Sending Company contributed to your Institute and personal development? Would you recommend participating in MobiliseSME?

Barbara (Magiska Författarresor) hosted an event at Terzo Mondo in Berlin and invited me to participate. She also planned a publication of Berlin’s event stories and included one of my Institute’s.

Immediately before the event, we planned a collaboration: together, we researched how to promote the production and diffusion of women’s stories in order to enhance the importance of democracy and women’s rights.

To this end, we decided among others to dedicate the workshop in May to the theme “Europe” so everyone wrote a story related to Europe. This special session was hosted in partnership with the Berlin Senate and announced as part of the Berlin European Week. 

Due to Barbara’s broad network, we were always able to have between 5 and 10 persons participating in the Zoom meeting every month.

For sure, I would recommend MobiliseSME and I would like to repeat the business experience anytime. In fact, Barbara and I plan to continue our collaboration.

– Barbara, do you plan to continue the collaboration after the experience with the MobiliseSME programme?

In spite of initial difficulties due to our strong personalities, we found a successful way of collaboration that we both find profitable and satisfying, so that we have agreed on continuing by reversing the situation: Clara (The Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute Berlin) will come to Sweden and participate as a Sending Company, so that she will be able to study and participate in the various literary events that my company has lined up.

Thereby, we can work together on improving the market of women’s stories as real cultural entrepreneurs.

After the completion of our participation in MobiliseSME, On March 20, I organised a German literary salon where Clara met some of the participants from our Zoom course in real life, as well as encountered a German-speaking Swedish audience that was very interested in our project and in the programme.

As there is still much to do, we are glad to continue our collaboration. Especially helpful is the exchange of ideas about what is working in this particular field.

Writing is in fact a very lonely business, particularly when it comes to the marketing part. Here we need some more brainstorming. 

We also plan to realise our creative writing journey to Ischia, which hopefully will lead to new contacts and possibly to further MobiliseSME projects with new counterparts.

Mobilise

– What about you, Clara?

I endorse the words of my partner Barbara.

As mentioned, we wish to start a kind of digital shop where we sell the stories, in order to generate profit and become skilled cultural entrepreneurs.

Also, it would be great to add female content to the male-dominated cyberspace. In fact, this is a very innovative project, in our case the socio-technical “market” of women’s stories; ethics and democracy; freedom and human dignity; equality and rule of law; human rights and women’s rights; in brief, the core values of Europe.

Let me add that the Russian-Ukrainian war reminds us not to take democratic values ​​for granted, but to appreciate and support them tirelessly. Exactly what the programme MobiliseSME is doing.

– Last but not least, did you improve your knowledge of mobility of workers within the EU after your participation in MobilisSME? Which role had the Local Contact Points in sharing this information?

I (Barbara) was quite aware of Erasmus and other existing European mobility and exchange programmes, but had not heard of MobiliseSME.

I am a very independent worker, used to making a lot of solitary decisions. I quickly got the impression that it was alright to work like that.

The role of our Local Contact Points, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – WKO and Fundación Equipo Humano, is to function as a help centre that assists you in case of emergency. It felt good and secure to have this assistance. But I didn’t really need to make use of it as the host country, Germany, was not unfamiliar to me. I think the situation is completely different for a seconded person who has never been in the host country.

As there is no Local Contact Point in Scandinavia, I would be interested to possibly become one. I think the whole idea of MobiliseSME is brilliant, especially as even one-person companies and cultural workers are considered.

Thus, I hope this programme will continue, grow and excel.

 

«MobiliseSME is advisable for any lawyer in the EU, since it brings a European approach to law career»

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Mattia Tedeschi is an Italian freelance lawyer who has participated in MobiliseSME as a Sending Company, which has allowed him to collaborate for 6 months with Ricardo Moreno Iraola, owner of the Spanish law firm Iraola Advocatorum.

We interviewed both of them to see how their participation in the MobiliseSME programme has gone:

– Please, Mattia, tell us a bit about your company and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?

As a freelance lawyer, I provide legal services (in Italian and English) to natural and legal persons in Italy. My areas of specialisation are immigration law and civil law. Our headquarter is in La Spezia, and we have contacts with local companies and people.  

I wanted to participate in MobiliseSME as a Sending Company because I thought this could be a great and useful experience for me, since I am planning to establish a branch in another EU country. I also wanted to find a partner company or freelancer in Europe, to have an experience in his/her company, to improve my business, and to establish relations in other countries.  

I discovered the programme when I searched on the Internet about opportunities for making exchanges in other EU countries. Then I found the website of the MobiliseSME programme.

– And how about you, Ricardo? Please, tell us about your company and how you found out about the MobiliseSME programme.

I am a freelance lawyer in Madrid, carrying out legal services to individuals and legal entities in Spain. My specialisations are bankruptcy and civil law, but soon I will be enrolling in the Madrid criminal office shift.

In addition, I have just opened a law firm called Iraola Advocatorum.

I participated in the programme as a Host Company because I learned about it and it seemed to me a great opportunity to collaborate with someone else. Since I opened the law firm, I have been working alone. Thus, I am looking to meet people and to win new clients.

I thought MobiliseSME was a good opportunity to work with a colleague of mine from another country and give a more internationalist turn to my business, which otherwise would remain confined to local law.

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company, Mattia? Would you repeat the MobiliseSME experience?

This collaboration contributed significantly to my law firm, because my income increased due to the increase in the business volume.

I managed to surpass my previous invoice levels thanks to the support and knowledge I gained from the MobiliseSME experience.

Thanks to my participation in the programme, I am now providing business information services to Spanish companies interested in running their business in Italy. I also provide immigration advice services to Spanish speaking clients from Spain and Latin America.

Thus, I strongly recommend MobiliseSME to any lawyer and businessman in the EU. Is a great opportunity to meet new collaborators and to widen your business knowledge.

I would repeat this experience without any doubt and I would love to participate again, in order to develop more ideas and services, and to make my business even stronger.

– Ricardo, please, briefly describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with Mattia. How did the process go?

I did not know about the Sending Company before. I contacted Mattia because we had a common goal: to satisfy our customers and learn from this opportunity.

Mattia’s profile seemed interesting because he wanted to learn bankruptcy law and extend his services to companies working between Italy and Spain.

We had different strengths, such as knowledge of civil law and the will to give a more international touch to our business. I think that we had things in common and that is why we decided to work together.

I would definitely repeat the MobiliseSME experience, since it was an important formative stage. I don’t know what it would be like to work in the long run, but for these months the experience has been very positive.

– Mattia, with which knowledge, techniques or information have you contributed to the Host Company? Which functions and responsibilities did you have during this collaborative period?

I have mainly provided knowledge to Ricardo about the most popular legal services that he could offer in Italy. I also informed him about the process to buy houses in Italy, so he can provide advice in Italian real estate law.

My main functions were to give support in marketing, in the elaboration of documents, in negotiation and customer search/support.

Therewith, I improved my legal skills oriented to multiple jurisdictions, especially to the Spanish legal system and, of course, my business skills and Spanish command.

As I said before, this collaboration surely contributed significantly to my law firm.

MobiliseSME

– Ricardo, how do you think this collaboration with the Sending Company contributed to your law firm and personal development? Would you recommend participating in MobiliseSME?

The collaboration with Mattia has contributed to my company in the sense that there has been an increase in the volume of business and income.

I basically offered my experience in criminal law and Mattia his experience in civil law. We have developed an overall vision on commercial law, in order to have more customers and offer more services; we also advertised our businesses, worked together and learned from each other, although initially there were language barriers. However, we overcame them and this allowed us to get to know each other better.

Mattia and I contacted several Italian and Spanish trans-border companies, which work and invest in both countries, as well as local authorities. He introduced me to some natural persons who wanted to invest in Spain and, thus, I was able to make new clients.

I would certainly recommend this experience, because it is important to give a more European approach to our profession, which otherwise would remain closed and limited to the country of origin.

– Mattia, do you plan to continue the collaboration after the experience with the MobiliseSME programme?

Sure, in fact I plan to further collaborate with Ricardo. We will act each other as an agent of our businesses in Italy and Spain, getting a commission every time we send a new client to each other’s law firm.

We will also continue giving support to each other when we have any doubt about the Italian or Spanish system.

We will both collaborate together when it comes to delegating work that must be done in our countries, while giving each other the chance to use our offices in Italy and Spain to meet with clients and to use them as a local contact point for our clients.

– What about you, Ricardo?

Of course, we will collaborate again in the future.

We have estimated new earnings from the exchange of clients, those interested in investing in Spain and Italy.

As Mattia said, for each new client, we would get a commission; and, for some clients, we will both work and earn half the fee each.

After our participation in MobiliseSME, we have gained new customers, as well as we have invested in advertising in local authorities and in our respective cities of origin.

So, I hope that the collaboration will continue over time, since it can be a way of making us grow in the international sphere.

Mattia also wanted to extend his services to another country, and this experience provided the tools to do so.

– Last but not least, did you improve your knowledge of mobility of workers within the EU after your participation in MobilisSME? Which role had the Local Contact Points in sharing this information?

I (Mattia) have improved my knowledge of workers mobility, because I have learned first hand how the European Union is supporting labour exchanges between countries in a successful way.

The MobiliseSME programme means a great opportunity to integrate the EU by allowing people to work in other EU countries and giving support to do it.

On the other hand, our Local Contact Points (Forum AIC and Fundación Equipo Humano) did a great job by guiding us in the whole process. They were very supportive all the time and always answered our questions, helping with a procedure that was new to us.

Their role is to support participants and to provide complete information about the programme. Also, to guarantee that MobiliseSME works in the agreed way.

 

How to achieve great results through MobiliseSME – Interviewing Sandra Grabowska and D33

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Sandra Grabowska is a Polish freelancer specialising in marketing strategy, digital media, consumer behaviour, brand awareness, and omni-channel marketing campaigns, who decided to join MobiliseSME as a Sending Company.

Anacleto and Lisa Balasso are the owners of D33 sas di Anacleto Balasso & C. Lisa Balasso (D33), an Italian company based in Venice (Italy), which offers services as a communication agency. D33 has participated in MobiliseSME as Host Company.

Sandra and D33 have been collaborating through the MobiliseSME programme for 6 months. Do you want to know how it went? Then don’t miss the interview we have conducted with them, in which they tell us all about it in detail:

– Hello, Sandra. Please, tell us a bit about your company and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?

I decided to gain my professional experience right after I started my studies in Journalism and Social Communication. My first internships were in fashion magazines such as Glamour and Elle, as well as in the atelier of designers like Plich and Rina Cossack.

From the beginning, my career has been linked to the fashion industry, as well as working in a freelance position, which allowed me to work with many clients and brands.

In MobiliseSME I saw an opportunity to gain additional experience in a sector I was also interested in but did not have much experience. In addition, the Italian market – a country and a culture that are close to my heart.

During one of my trips to Venice, I met Lisa Balasso, the co-owner of D33 and founder of Venice Design Week (VDW). I was very keen to improve my services and work with VDW, as I had previously worked mainly in the fashion industry, so VDW was a challenge for me, but also a way to improve my qualifications. 

During our conversation, Lisa mentioned the MobiliseSME programme, which would enable us to exchange experiences together. I didn’t hesitate for a second and sent in my application.

– And how about you, Anacleto and Lisa? Please, tell us about D33 and how you found out about the MobiliseSME programme.

Our company promotes online other businesses. We create, develop and guard some brands across print and digital, locally, nationally and internationally. We work for and project art and design exhibitions.

We have experience in organisation of exhibitions from the fundraising to the contents and choice of products, designers, partners and media partners. We developed the project VDW and we are running it to create a week of events, exhibitions, talks and meetings in Venice. 

In addition, we like to connect people and brands, so we decided to participate in MobiliseSME because we believe in the connections and networking to generate business. Also because we love to learn and compare what we and others do. Thus, we have the chance to grow up in meetings and work together.

MobiliseSME

On the other hand, we discovered MobiliseSME through a newsletter and, at first, we thought of using it to go abroad to experience another design week in Europe; however, we did not have the time to do it. So, when Sandra asked to cooperate with us, we thought that this programme was in the spirit of our new experience together.

MobiliseSME gave Sandra the possibility to work in the same room instead of working through video calls, and everything became possible when people work side by side and, of course, problems are easier to solve.

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company, Sandra? Would you repeat the MobiliseSME experience?

Working with D33 has definitely had a positive impact on my professional life. Thanks to these months of working together and exchanging experiences, I have had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people and establishing many business relationships, which will certainly not end with the programme, on the contrary.

Moreover, I have gained valuable experience in the art and design industry – from organising exhibitions or large events, such as Venice Design Week, to researching and contacting designers.

From the communication and marketing point of view, it was also a challenge for me because I had to reach different target groups and different media (related to art and design) with my message and promotion. I can certainly say that I have gained valuable experience on the foreign market and I improved my Italian.

In retrospect, I would certainly encourage others to take part in MobiliseSME, as it gives you the opportunity to gather valuable experience in practice rather than theory, to exchange experiences.

Personally, I would not hesitate to apply again and repeat the participation in this European programme. 

– Anacleto and Lisa, briefly describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with the Sending Company. How did the process go?

I (Lisa) met Sandra in Venice by networking with a friend, and later Sandra looked for me and we started to think of developing a project together. So we looked for support and we thought the MobiliseSME programme could be a good chance to get to know each other better while working on a joint project.

The profile of Sandra was different from other profiles that I had in the team, so it could be interesting to have another point of view. She comes from the fashion and journalism worlds, and later we realised this could be helpful to build other projects.

We started to develop some hypothesis of cooperation; then, we opted to develop the Design Market, a project that was on standby for years because we did not have the right team to work on it.

We realised that Sandra has leading characteristics and she was perfect in the role. So she started with the MobliseSME experience creating connections with designers from Poland.

Also, the relationship with the team behind MobiliseSME was so easy, everybody was really cooperative.

Design Market

– Sandra, how do you think this collaboration with the Host Company contributed to your personal development?

Certainly, working with D33, mainly at Venice Design Week, has helped me to enrich my professional qualifications.

Thanks to this experience, I have acquired additional knowledge and skills in the fields of art and design, organisation of exhibitions, and large artistic events, getting to know the Italian market related to art and design, the Italian artists and designers, as well as improving my knowledge of the Italian language and establishing valuable contacts, which will certainly pay off in the future.

Moreover, because of MobiliseSME I can also offer more services to future clients and reach out to a new type of clientele – those in the field of art and design. Also, I am already in talks with one potential client who would like to use my services, so I think this is the best confirmation.

Therefore, I can confidently say that working with D33 has definitely improved my current professional position and the services I offer.

– And how did you contribute to the Host Company? Which responsibilities did you have during the time of collaboration?

As a Sending Company, coming to Venice and working with D33 in the organisation of Venice Design Week, since I already had some experience in working on large events (mainly fashion related, such as organising a fashion show) and tasks related to communication, promotion and marketing.

On my part, I also offered D33 my knowledge about Polish artists and the Polish design market, contacts with artists and knowledge of important events in this industry in Poland.

However, when organising the Design Market event, I focused on what I felt good at, i.e. promoting the event in social media, media and marketing.

Additionally, I was responsible from the very beginning for scouting Polish brands and guiding them from the moment of registration to participation in the event itself.

I think that after our collaboration through MobiliseSME, D33 will enrich its knowledge about the Polish market and Polish brands, especially ceramic ones. Also thanks to my networks, my Host Company has also made contact with media, such as WhiteMad or Gazzetta Italia.

Sandra Grabowska

– What about you, Anacleto and Lisa? How do you think the collaboration with Sandra contributed to D33? 

Sandra contributed to one project in particular. This experience or an exhibition of designers from Poland in Venice can be repeated in the next few years.

We also developed one event that we had not started before because we did not have the competence inside our company and because we were too busy.

The main result of our collaboration was the satisfaction of the companies from Poland that Sandra invited to the Design Market of the VDW. The atmosphere of the event was curated in every detail with professionality.

Thanks to this, we now have a format that can be used from other countries to participate in VDW.

– Do you plan to continue the collaboration after the experience with the MobiliseSME programme? If yes, how so?

Yes, after our time together and our work on the VDW, we want to continue our cooperation. What’s more, we are already continuing our collaboration and working together on the next edition of Venice Design Week. 

During VDW, I (Sandra) was fully responsible for a new project, which was the Design Market. During the Design Market, thanks to our Polish-Italian cooperation, as many as 5 Polish ceramic brands were presented.

Since the Design Market turned out to be an unquestionable success, which was confirmed by numerous publications in the media and by the opinions of satisfied designers, we decided to organise another Design Market during VDW in 2022, and even go one step further.

Also, we want to transfer the format of the event to Milan and organise a Design Market, during the most important event in the world of Design – Milano Design Week. The first talks and meetings on this topic have already taken place.

– Which role do the Local Contact Points play in sharing this information?

Undoubtedly, the Local Contact Points (The Italian-Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce) were extremely helpful and always there to help in preparing for the collab, completing documents and during the MobiliseSME experience itself.

Finally, we also think that the MobiliseSME programme should certainly be further promoted and made more widely available, since very few people around us knew about the existence of such a programme and the opportunities it offers.

 

«I recommend MobiliseSME to any company that wants to expand its market and improve its knowledge»

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Gonzalo Palenzuela is a self-employed specialist in reparation and restoration of pianos and owner of Silentium Piano, who recently participated in the MobiliseSME programme as Sending Company.

Gonzalo came to learn and exchange his experience to a Belgium based company for 3 months. He describes his participation in MobiliseSME as very enriching – thanks to it, as he says, he was able to reach many new potential partners and acquire skills related to his profession.

How did the collaboration with the Host Company go? And why would he recommend the programme to other SMEs as well? Find out the answers in the following interview:

– Tell us a bit about you and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME? 

I am a self-employed worker specialising in the reparation and restoration of grand pianos. I have worked by myself since 1993. I have been trained in several factories and in various piano schools, not only in Europe; and after more than 25 years of professional experience, I have achieved a high degree of specialisation in the field.

I work mainly in the Spanish region of Castilla y León, but also in Madrid. Castilla y León has a low population density, which decreases every day. This means that I had to look for new markets, and this is also one of the reasons why I thought about starting new relationships with important European piano dealers.

On top of that, as I work by myself, I have always desired to exchange knowledge with other professionals and with companies which work with a high number of grand pianos in the second-hand distribution sector.

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company? Would you recommend participating in MobiliseSME? 

I have been able to meet and also collaborate with several dealers in the second-hand pianos distribution sector. Mainly, I have exchanged knowledge and information with my Host Company, but I also got in contact with other important European dealers and have been able to collaborate with them – doing restorations, installing equipment or fine-tuning pianos.

I have reached companies such as Pianos Maene, Pianos Van Innis and Pianos Carlier, all of them based in Belgium.

The experience has been really interesting, and I think that it will allow me to continue the collaboration with those enterprises, which means expanding my activity market.

I recommend participating in MobiliseSME to any company that wants to expand its market and improve its knowledge, and for sure, I would repeat this business experience.

– How did this collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your development? 

Since I am the owner of the sending company (self-employed), the collaboration has contributed not only to the development of my company but also to my development as a worker. 

I have been able to chat with colleagues working in the sector, refreshing my knowledge with new ideas and exchanging information about some of the techniques used in the restoration of pianos.

The collaboration will probably continue in the future, as I have started professional relationships very useful for the second-hand piano dealers I met, and also for me, since I have increased my market reach.

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– With which knowledge, techniques or information has the seconded person contributed to the Host Company? Which knowledge and skills did the seconded person improve? 

My Host Company was a European piano dealer based in Belgium that needed at least one high-profile professional to fine-tune and restore its grand pianos. I have worked restoring 20 pianos in total, which have been restored in high quality and the market has appreciated the excellent job done.

I have been able to improve my skills in installing silent systems in grand pianos, which requires practice that I have acquired in the Host Company facilities. I have also learnt some techniques used to restore the piano furniture.

– Do you plan to collaborate with the Host Company after this project?

Since we both have finished the joint project with a high degree of satisfaction, we would like to further develop our relationship.

I will probably work for the Host Company (as well as for the others that I have met during my stay in Belgium) as a freelancer for some time during the year. 

– How the COVID restrictions affect your collaboration? How did you manage to coordinate? 

COVID restrictions have affected our collaboration, since our first idea was to collaborate longer in the first period. However, we have been able to adapt the dates to the situation and, fortunately, after the improvement of the situation in both countries and my vaccination, the restrictions were lower, and we could meet our expectations. 

The most difficult was to avoid lock-down during the first part of our participation in MobiliseSME, since vaccines were not still available. Nevertheless, I was allowed to follow a semi-lockdown, being able to go out just to work. Also, the expenses have increased since I have had to take several PCRs to prove I was free of COVID.

– Last but not least, did you improve your knowledge of mobility of workers within the European Union after your participation in MobilisSME? Which role did the information local points in sharing this information? 

Fundación Equipo Humano, my Local Contact Point, has been really kind and helpful. They have provided me all the information about the requirements needed for the mobility of the European workers involved in the project.

Also, they have helped me with all the documentation needed and, in my opinion, their role is of the most importance for the success of the MobiliseSME programme.

Everything has been easy, both for the Sending (me) and for the Host Company. The procedure has been smooth, and they have provided financial support on time and in a very efficient way.

MobiliseSME, robotics, 3D design and communication: the ingredients of a successful partnership

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Mar Sánchez (Marax) has joined the MobiliseSME programme as a Sending Company, working together for 6 months with the Berlin-based Host Company MotorSkins.

Discover the highlights of this collaboration below.

Who are our protagonists?

Mar Sánchez is a Spanish entrepreneur and founder of Marax, a technology-based startup of 3D design, strategy and marketing, specialised in content and digital transformation which accompanies companies in digitization throughout its value chain.

Juan Opitz-Silva is co-founder of MotorSkins, an interdisciplinary company specialised in textiles with embedded fluidics for human-machine interaction.

While Marax deals with business communication, specializing in robotics and technology, MotorSkins develops soft-robotics solutions for human-machine interaction, using fluid-driven textile-based devices to assist and support human locomotion.

What are their objectives?

Marax and MotorSkins will collaborate in the context of communication and marketing perspectives.

Thanks to the MobiliseSME experience, Marax intends to have the ability to manage the progress of a communication project; to improve and acquire new skills (both language communication and business management in Germany); to develop a complete and comprehensive mapping in the German market, favouring the expansion of Marax’s technology; and to develop procedures for the management of future projects, among others.

On the other hand, MotorSkins aims to establish a Communications Strategy Framework and tactical roadmap for the business development; to boost its corporate image in order to attract new investors, corporates and users; to have a list of lessons learned concerning marketing and communication on 3D animation projects; to enhance and strengthen business cooperation with Marax in the communication and commercial department; among other objectives.

Activity highlights 

Marax will support MotorSkins specially in communication and marketing fields, as this area is not yet covered in the Host Company.

Firstly, Marax will start the audit, research, and development of the communication plan. At the same time, the Host Company will introduce Marax into the German market, culture, and business.

Secondly, both companies will be able to go into detail about market analysis from the communication and marketing perspective, and they will jointly collaborate to identify the competence and investigate their communication strategies.

Afterwards, MotorSkins will test the communication plan on the company’s social media and website, while Marax will implement marketing strategies for social media channels.

In the final months of their joint collaboration, the two companies will focus on the launch of the 3D animation prototype strategy on social media and website, for Marax to finally carry out an analysis of the implementation and execution, and possible improvements to correct in future projects.


This secondment has been managed by the Austrian Economic Chambers – WKO and Fundación Equipo Humano.

MobiliseSME programme gives SME’s staff the opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities of the EU single market and develop cross-border partnerships.

If you also want to have this opportunity, our Local Contact Points will accompany you through the whole process – that’s what we’re here for!

 

«MobiliseSME has been a fantastic experience for my company and for me» – Interviewing Mondeguitta Produçoes and Yepso!

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Mariana Figueira da Silva is the CEO of Mondeguitta Produçoes, a Portuguese company that provides audio-visual communication services, and Iván Carnota is the technical director of the Spanish training company Yepso!

Together these companies decided to participate in MobiliseSME from July to October 2021. How did their collaboration go? And what did they get from this experience? They told us in the following interview:

– Tell us a bit about your Company and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME? 

I am Mariana Figueira da Silva, CEO at Mondeguitta Produçoes, a company that provides audio-visual communication services at global level. We are focused on helping companies to build strong relations with potential clients through videos, humanising the essential tools to achieve effective communication.

With our participation in this programme, we wanted to obtain a holistic vision of the European market, favour our introduction in other countries such as Spain and Belgium and enter a market that interests us, especially audio-visual communication linked to e-learning training.

– And how about you, Iván? Can you introduce yourself a bit?

My name is Iván Carnota Varela, and I am the technical director of Yepso! My professional career is linked to the field of European affairs. I finished my degree in Law and specialised in European Union studies through a MA. I enhanced this training with Philosophy studies. Subsequently, I worked in an information centre of the European Commission and the Ministry of the Economy in Spain.

After both experiences, my partner Carlos Gil and I founded Yepso!, a training company that aims to help people pass the EU competitions and get a job in the institutions. Through our training project, we use technology and educational tools to help our candidates boost their performance.

For a couple of years, we wanted to explore distance learning, but we could not advance due to various circumstances. When we found the MobiliseSME programme, we knew it was our opportunity.

– Mariana, describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with the sending Company. How did the process go? 

The matchmaking process was quite simple. Both companies knew each other before because we had jointly participated in an audio-visual project for a European public administration.

After that collaboration, we talked many times about the possibility of working on a pilot of a new kind of online training. We were confident about starting, however, due to different circumstances, it became lengthy and costly to make it happen.

Once we learned about the project, possibilities, and possible implications of our participation, we decided to move forward. We sent our registration to our closest Local Contact Point, Fundación Equipo Humano, and they significantly streamlined the project. 

We had very easy communication with Yepso! (the Sending Company) and with Fundación Equipo Humano as the intermediate entity. After an interview with them, that ensured that we had all the essential information, and many conversations with Yepso! to define important aspects of the project, we just had to prepare to host them.

Mondeguitta Produçoes

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company, Iván? Would you recommend participating in MobiliseSME? 

Our collaboration has been vital for the development of our company. We knew how well Mondeguitta Produçoes works, and it has been a fantastic experience for my company and for me. This collaboration allowed us to develop an online course that will help to scale our business model and reach new markets. The know-how provided by Mariana and her team made the process easy. It was a knowledge that we lacked, and it has helped us enormously.

After this fantastic experience, I cannot but recommend participating in MobiliseSME and, of course, I would repeat an experience like this. In fact, on a personal level, it was my first business experience in a country outside of Spain, and it couldn’t have been better.

We have not only developed high-impact audio-visual content for Yepso!, that will have a significant impact on our business model and that will contribute to improving the training for our candidates; but on a personal level, it has been an experience that has broadened my vision as an entrepreneur. We have developed new services, and I have created a great network with new partners. This experience helped me meet people with whom, I am sure, we will continue to collaborate.

– And how did this collaboration contribute to your personal development?

As a co-owner, I have had the privilege of living a double development. On the one hand, it has been very profitable for me as a co-owner since my company has developed a new service that will be key to its growth. In addition, we have established a solid collaborative relationship with the Host Company, with which we will continue to work in the future and develop new products. 

This intense but fruitful experience has been key to strengthening alliances with a company from another country that works in another language. However, these cultural factors have not been an obstacle during our stay. Instead, they have enriched us.

On the other hand, as a Yepso! worker, the stay in Portugal has been very enriching for me as well. It has given me the chance to be in a different country from where I usually develop my work with different rhythms.

I feel that the experience has given me many new tools. Until now, I have faced situations that I had not encountered in my professional career, such as having to record in a studio, getting to work with people in a language that I knew but in which I was not proficient. These circumstances made me live the experience very intensely. 

– And you, Mariana? How did the collaboration with Iván and his company contribute to your company? 

The collaboration between both entities has been very fruitful. For our part, working with Yepso! has provided us with a holistic and comprehensive perception of two priority sectors: services in the European Union and the market for training companies. We have obtained the daily experience of their team. Getting to know their professional priorities has served us to get to know our potential clients better.

For my part, I would 100% recommend participating in the programme. I had two main uncertainties regarding our participation – both were eventually solved. My first concern was about the administrative process, since I was afraid that it could be too complex and the related bureaucracy too demanding. However, the great help provided by both Fundación Equipo Humano and Yepso! made it very smooth. My other uncertainty was combining such a complex project with my day-to-day work, which is very demanding. However, the coordination has been excellent, and I managed perfectly.

From this experience, we obtained a partnership with a company of great importance in the training market on a European scale and many options to work with more companies at that level.

– Do you plan to collaborate with the Sending Company after this collaboration? If yes, how so?

We plan to continue the collaboration with the Sending Company after our participation in the programme.

With MobiliseSME, we have started a journey of collaboration that we want to continue developing together. During these months, many synergies, ideas, and projects have emerged. Yepso!, after this experience, wants to continue testing innovations and implementing them in their communication and training. From Mondeguitta, we want to keep helping them in this process.

We plan to present joint proposals for possible business opportunities at EU level and even develop new products and services on the market together. The next few months will be vital to implementing milestones. We are very confident about our following collaborations!

Success of MobiliseSME: Collaboration of graphic studio and publishing house brought a book series

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Marc Armand, graphic designer from Parisian studio Tu Sais Qui, and César Rodríguez from Spanish publishing house Fulgencio Pimentel, collaborated for one month (October – November 2020) under the MobiliseSME programme.

Their collaboration was such a success that they decided to repeat it also in 2021 and switch the roles of Host and Sending Company.

What did the programme bring to them and what did they achieve? They told us in the following interview:

– Tell us a bit about your Company and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?

I am Marc Armand from Tu Sais Qui, a Paris-based art direction and graphic design studio founded in 2008. The studio is responsible for the creative direction of Please! magazine; designed patterns for Desigual, Lacoste and Jean-Paul Goude; countless collaborations with Nike as a graphic designer, typographer, and type researcher, among many other projects. Tu Sais Qui also leads the visual communication of Villa Noailles art center in Hyères (France).

Tu Sais Qui is an international benchmark design studio and at the same time a very personal project. For this reason, it is well positioned to bring unique differential value to the editorial projects of independent publishers and potential partners in general.

– And how about you, César? Tell us about yourself and the sending company you came from.

I am César Sánchez from Fulgencio Pimentel, a Spanish publishing house focused on fiction, graphic novels, picture books and poetry. It was founded in 2006 and it has published more than 150 books, translating from more than 15 different languages. 

We decided to take part in MobiliseSME because it was a unique opportunity for us. It has allowed us to develop common projects with a French design studio. It has also helped me, as the seconded person, to broad my experience and improve my language skills, as well as discovering new potential projects from France.

We found out about the programme after Fundación Equipo Humano contacted us with the offer.

– Marc, briefly describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with the sending Company. How did the process go? 

Since we already knew we wanted to collaborate with each other, the matchmaking process was very simple. We have known each other since our first collaboration creating the visual identity of Puchi Award.

In order to plan our activities, we had an online meeting in which we established the goals and objectives. After that, we worked in a shared document where we brought all the successful ideas created during brainstorming, trying to find a balance for our objectives. 

– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your company, César? Would you repeat this business experience?

I would definitely recommend participating in MobiliseSME to colleagues in the publishing industry and any professionals in general since the programme is so open to companies from different sectors. I would take this opportunity again.

Our collaboration has facilitated the development of joint projects which are currently in process and will continue to grow in the near future. The new graphic identity of Puchi Award is going to be released in the following months, as well as some covers of our new book series La Principal

It was the perfect opportunity to strengthen the links between our two companies and, at the same time, we could get first-hand access to the latest literary projects published by French authors.

– How did this collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your personal development?

It was a great opportunity for me to gain more skills and confidence with the French language. French literature is perhaps the most important foreign literature for our publishing house so it is vital for our professionals to be able to assess potential projects with competence, proficiency and agility. It is also important for the editor to be able to edit translations from French. Both skills were improved during my stay.

On a more general, human level, the collaboration has allowed me to enrich and broaden my horizons while getting in contact with another culture.

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– And how did you contribute to the Host Company? Which responsibilities did you have during the time of collaboration? 

I have contributed to the Host Company with many years of experience in the publishing sector, including knowledge and first-hand information. My responsibilities were mainly related to the conceptualization phase of two projects: Puchi Award and book cover design for book series La Principal

On the other hand, coming into contact with the editorial design workflow in a more purely graphic environment has enriched my vision and the way of working.

– Marc, how do you think the collaboration with the Sending Company contributes to your company? 

In several ways. It gave us the opportunity to work in two joint projects: firstly, the identity of Puchi Award, a collaboration we establish every year since 2018. Being closer has enriched the creative process of this project and we are sure the results will be even better than in past editions.

Furthermore, the participation in MobiliseSME gave us the opportunity to start a new project of collaboration with a new book series cover design. This is a good contribution as it promises to have continuity in the future.

All this contributes to one of our main goals: to make our design work more visible in Spanish-speaking countries, in order to reach potential new clients.

I would definitely recommend participating in the MobiliseSME programme and, of course, I would repeat my experience.


This interview is evidence of the undoubted success achieved by both SMEs during their participation in our programme.

Your company can be the next to benefit from all that comes with being part of the MobiliseSME experience.

Contact our Local Contact Points and do not miss this great opportunity!

MobiliseSME brings EU funding to agribusiness

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In the framework of the MobiliseSME programme, Paolo Sospiro (EUAbout) and Mauro Picardo (Melograno Vita) decided to join forces to participate in EU calls for projects and tenders.

Who are our protagonists and what are their objectives?

Paolo Sospiro is the director of EUAbout, a Belgian organisation that supports SMEs in the search for projects and tenders at European level. In March 2021, Paolo registered his association in MobiliseSME, since he was looking forward to sharing his experience and expertise in European tenders and projects with other SMEs, as well as to expanding his network of contacts in the agribusiness sector at European level. 

Mauro Picardo is the representative of Melograno Vita, a pomegranate cooperative in the Marche region that uses innovative technologies to harvest, process and produce pomegranate in the most environmentally friendly way. At the beginning of his experience in MobiliseSME, he was interested in developing a methodology for collecting data from the cooperative’s members and finding out how to enter EU projects.

Activity highlights

Thanks to their collaboration, both SMEs have successfully submitted two calls for proposals at European level and one at national level, as well as partnering with the Polytechnic University of Marche to work on bio-packaging.

As a result, Melograno Vita, the Polytechnic University of Marche and SIPREM decided to become the shareholders of the new spin-off of the cooperative Melograno biotech, a start-up dedicated to R&D activities for the production and transformation of pomegranate.

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In addition, they have met with regional authorities and companies in the value chain to prepare for new regional agricultural calls for proposals. 

On the other hand, to meet the EUAbout objective of expanding its professional network in agribusiness, Melograno Vita has shared its Italian contacts in the sector while supporting Paolo to improve his knowledge on the specific systems of organic circular economic production of pomegranate.


Paolo Sospiro and Mauro Picardo are great examples of a success collaboration focused on innovation, networking and the development of new products and services.

If you would also like to be part of another success story within the framework of our MobiliseSME programme, then get in contact with our Local Contact Points. We will be happy to help you!

This secondment has been managed by the partners Cámara Oficial de Comercio de España en Bélgica y Luxemburgo and the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce.

 

How can the IT and logistics sectors create synergies through MobiliseSME?

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Vladimir Rajičić from Belgrade (Serbia) and Jordi Arribas del Peral have decided to start their collaboration through the MobiliseSME programme for 6 months in Barcelona (Spain).

Today we share with you a short story about their collaboration and reveal how they are progressing so far!

Who are the protagonists?

Vladimir Rajičić is the director of PR Home Expert, a microenterprise founded in 2019. He is a passionate web developer, web designer and webmaster specialised in WordPress and Joomla Content Management Systems, who joined MobiliseSME as a Sending Company

Jordi Arribas del Peral is the director of Leadmee, a platform founded in 2019 that connects shippers who need to transport goods with carriers who want to fully load their vehicle. Thus, it aims to facilitate contact between carriers, companies and individuals. Jordi applied for the MobiliseSME programme as a Host Company.

What are their objectives?

Through their collaboration, PR Home Expert would like to develop digital skills and knowledge, more specifically on programming, SEO and SEM, as well as make new contacts and learn Spanish.

On the other hand, Leadmee would like to improve Search Engine positioning and functionality of the Leadmee platform.

What is the purpose of their collaboration?

The main objective of the collaboration is the exchange of knowledge and practices, and their entry into the EU market and Balkan countries.

Both sides believe that their cooperation will contribute to the successful development of their businesses, as well as new ideas that will lead to their improvement. 

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Activity highlights

PR Home Expert and Leadmee started their collaboration at the beginning of August 2021, and at this point of their MobiliseSME relationship they are working on the conversion of the Joomla programming language to WordPress, as well as translating all the functionalities into 10 different languages. 

In parallel, they also collaborate with the digital marketing team and work on a new marketing strategy and content development

In short, Vladimir and Jordi saw in the MobiliseSME programme an opportunity to improve their knowledge, experience and businesses in the future.


MobiliseSME is a programme initiated by the EU (EURES, EISMEA). It aims to help develop skills and capacities of staff of companies (employees, manager and owners or co-owners) by supporting short term cross-border secondments.

If you want to experience it first hand and invest in the future of your business, our Local Contact Points will accompany you through the whole process – that’s what we’re here for!

This secondment has been managed by the partners Business Incubator Novi Sad – BINS and Fundación Equipo Humano.