At the end of May my stint at The Curved House will come to an end. I spent four glorious months here as part of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs scheme. For anyone who doesn’t know, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a “cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating Countries.” The idea is that I, an aspiring entrepreneur about to start my own business, would spend time at an established small company, The Curved House in this case, learning the skills required to run a business.
I applied to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme in late November 2014. I hoped to gain experience and insight into the day to day running of a small company. By December everything was signed and approved and so my journey with The Curved House began.
I was in Berlin by January 2015 and was so excited about the prospect of a new job, new city, new colleagues and €1.50 kebabs. I didn’t know exactly how the Erasmus scheme would work or what exactly I would be doing, but I was confident that it would all be worthwhile.
The first time I met Kristen and Nerys, they took me to their local coffee spot. The flat whites were made to perfection, so naturally I took this as a sign of how our working relationship would develop.
During my first few weeks, Nerys took me under her Curved House wing and showed me how everything worked. After being set up with a million logins, we planned a communications strategy for the coming months. I wrote blog posts, researched various topics and helped out with different editorial tasks.
Kristen made sure to always include me in all meetings, so that I would be up to speed but also to make sure I had the skills and know-how going forward.
During my stay I also guest edited Visual Verse. I loved doing this. I sourced lead writers for each new edition, wrote newsletters, tweeted daily as well as edited and published incoming submissions. This really helped me understand the importance of a having a strong social media presence.
Another project I absolutely loved working on was Women In Letters, a celebration of female writers that kicked of on International Women’s Day 2015. I researched the writers and wrote the text, but this beautiful project was the creative brain child of Nerys Hudson at The Curved House. She also sketched all of the writers.
I was also lucky enough to go to the London Book Fair, where Kristen and I met lots of publishing people, clients and authors and went to some really interesting talks. We also met Ali Smith, one of the Visual Verse patrons, which was a highlight!
So in a nutshell the Erasmus was so rewarding, so enjoyable and so valuable for my professional growth and that of my future business. The financial backing allowed me to live in Berlin (my rent was covered with additional modest living costs) a city I had always wanted to explore. I even spoke the occasional bit of German.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this programme to anyone wishing to gain insight and experience in an established company. I am certain that this experience will help my own business. I definitely hope to work with these creative and talented people again in the future.
So long for now from Irish Kate!