Represent a young entrepreneur, I was given the opportunity to be assigned for the final meeting and conference in Slovenia at 6th – 10th of May 2019. This meeting and conference gathered committed NGO leaders, youth workers and young entrepreneurs from the Bridge Project.
“Bridge between Europe and Asia called synergy” is long term cooperation in the field of entrepreneurship between Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, and Slovenia. These project started from February 2018 – July 2019.
Our activities were held in two cities in Slovenia. The first was one of the oldest towns in Slovenia, Ptuj. Ptuj is a small and quiet town. The town looked so beautiful in the warm afternoon sun, like a painting. The second is the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana.
The first day we started our meeting at 17.00 (local time), we had a welcoming dinner at an ecological local farm in the suburb of the city of Ptuj. This local farm is run as a family business. It represented the local sense of entrepreneurship to our international team. The food and drinks are homemade and ecological which is supported by the EU policies for agricultural and food security.
The second day, we started with time investment in our team empowerment and enhancing our interpersonal relations within the Bridge team through the card game “More than one Story”. We visited afterward a local enterprise ran by a local intrapreneur. Through this visit, we explored the local reality in Slovenia when it comes to the concept and the difference between a social enterprise and business company with corporate social responsibility. We had a rich discussion where we overviewed Slovenian and EU policies to support business companies with corporate social responsibilities. We saw on hand practices in the company where people with special abilities are employed for inclusion and equal opportunities. The name of the local company is ČIS-TEAM.
We visited the Municipality of Ptuj where we had an exchange with the Mayor. Our team members shared about their countries and local NGOs. We also shared our Bridge cooperation and the results from it. We also asked the Mayor about youth policies and cooperation between the municipality and youth councils in the city of Ptuj.
After that, we had a session where we evaluated our cooperation. We shared about our contributions, what the Bridge Project added to us. What did we achieve and what we identify as further needs and opportunities that we discovered through this journey? We did this through two sessions. First within national teams focusing on our national reality with its achievements, contributions, needs and the added values of Bridge project. The second sessions within “peer to peer reflection”, we analyzed and evaluated the Bridge journey between peer to peer. NGO leaders, youth workers, and young entrepreneurs. We had an interview with the local Radio station, radio Ptuj.
On the third day, we went to Ljubljana. We were holding an open conference and a networking lunch. In this conference, we had the chance to disseminate results and promote our Bridge Project. We also had the chance to learn from other speakers and guests about new opportunities where we can cooperate like Horizon 2020 program. We also explored new topics that we can expand and cooperate further in. Like a circular economy, social responsibility for development and business incubators. We where live streaming in the event of Facebook.
In the networking lunch, our participants had the chance to network and exchange further information with other guests and speakers. The networking lunch was served by a woman from Syria. She is living in Slovenia in the past year and a half. She wishes to develop her initiative further into a restaurant where she can promote interculturalism and integration through food.
In the evening we went to Skuhna restaurant as one of social enterprise in Slovenia. We learned about Skuhna and its concept of building bridges between migrants and locals in Slovenia. We had an intercultural cuisine empowered and supported by migration. Skuhna was founded and empowered by migrants in Slovenia. It is now rated as one of the best restaurants in Slovenia and as a point of attraction.
The fourth day, we summarized and re framed our organizations to each other as an important refreshing stop for our further cooperation. In the second session, we highlighted the themes we can, and we wish to cooperate further in.We went for lunch at a restaurant that was founded by a man from Iran who arrived in Slovenia as an asylum seeker 10 years ago. Now his restaurant created new job opportunities for Slovenian youth. His restaurant is rated as one of the best restaurants for fast yet healthy food in Ljubljana.
In the evening we had our final reflection and evaluation. We also made the intercultural laugh night where we enhanced our intercultural team and affiliation. Overall we had a great cooperation and memories from Bridge project, we are also looking forward for upcoming project.