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EoC-INN, Portugal scored a goal!

The second part of the "Bootcamp for an Entrepreneurship of Communion" was held at Giosi di Abrigada from 25 to 26 June: 8 business projects are now ready to start.

by Rebeca Gomez Tafalla

160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 01 ridDeveloping entrepreneurial skills through the method of communion: the young and dynamic team of trainers returns from the two Bootcamps of June in Portugal, and it seems to have found its own strategy and, like the ancient Portuguese navigators, it drew a "map" of the journey that, in two weekends, allowed as many as 8 entrepreneurial projects to be realised, ready for being implemented. The remarkable results achieved with this innovative method of learning have attracted the attention of other groups of the Economy of Communion (in Brazil, Slovakia and the Philippines) provoking a desire to replicate the experience.

Even if all the materials are in Portuguese for the moment, our dynamic team said it was ready to make it available in English soon.

Bootcamp, which originated in the EoC - AMU Social Project to fight against unemployment, 160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 03 ridRAISE (Alternative Response of Social Integration and Entrepreneurship) now begins to have a life of its own. The tutors who had prepared through six months of intensive work, had outstanding results in meeting the challenge. There are many courses that offer tools to aspiring entrepreneurs: here something extra, a new outlook on the world was added. In the course of just 48 hours, people who did not know the EoC project (living communion inside companies), developed the skills to define a strategy of communion, identify partners of communion (the poor), engage the poor in the company, measure "the impact of communion" and link these variables with their own market segment etc.

160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 02 ridThe trainers have played a crucial role in this process: knowing how to motivate each and everyone empathetically, helping 13 new entrepreneurs to "focus" their ideas, problems and solutions, supporting them in "persevering" to find answers and throwing a party together with them when the objectives were reached. To show an example, let's take the project of producing "local handmade soaps". After an initial market study, we have realized that the production would have had preposterous costs. After the first phase of discouragement, thanks to the cooperation of other participants and some entrepreneurs, the project took sustainable dimensions and now it seems to be born again.

Between the first and second weekend of the bootcamp, there were three weeks for "homework": collecting all the necessary data (costs, sales forecasts...) to get prepared for the second working weekend together. Only those who had a real project to develop could take part in this second phase.

The logic of communion is present in the "group dynamics" with which all 160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 04 ridtopics covered in the two Bootcamps were dealt with. There were various pedagogical and educational objectives of such "communion dynamics": from the strengthening of the team spirit, through promoting creativity, learning, changing perspective, to acquiring the techniques to face difficulties, promoting autonomy, being able to listen and creating a network etc.

In the second Bootcamp we had a hands-on experience of how the "communion" dynamic had been internalized, moving on to the actions. Some examples: one of the participants (an entrepreneur in the green sector) decided to donate machines to another participant (a neo-entrepreneur in organic farming) with the help of which initial start-up costs could be reduced. Another participant, an environmental engineer who came into contact with the EoC for the first time, said that he had found an orientation for his life, not only from the business point of view. Actually, being "entrepreneurs of communion" is a challenge for 365 full days, not only during working hours.

160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 06 ridThe contribution by the Portuguese EoC entrepreneurs and consultants was undoubtedly precious: they worked alongside the new entrepreneurs in the various stages of their journey advising and encouraging them with moderation and balance, as is typical of entrepreneurs, and sharing their work experiences as EoC entrepreneurs. The participants did not want to miss out on this great opportunity and they took in every advice and comment as a precious pearl.

The Bootcamp concluded with the presentation of a pitch to a jury that, 160624 25 Abrigada Bootcamp 07 ridafter careful evaluation, "promoted" all projects, supporting their feasibility, even though we know that some of them still need to be reinforced and followed. We root for every new entrepreneur so that they can start their own company: for this purpose the Portuguese EoC IIN (Economy of Communion International Incubating Network) will stand beside each of them during this delicate stage. The jury decided to reward three projects for their affinity with the surrounding area and for the opportunity to be among their strategic partners: the Tourism Enterprise of Alenquer, the Agricultural Bio firm and the Local Soaps Company.

Compliments go to the fabulous Portuguese team that has been able to take this challenge and turn it into an amazing journey.

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