Barcelona reloaded - My summer as a start-up consulting intern for social enterprises in the Catalan capital
Ferdinand was stuck in a traffic jam in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when I skyped to interview him. The Danish former military captain now runs a social enterprise that bundles a great service for the poor and remotely living in Bangladesh. His company organises micro loans to its clients through financial institutions. However, these loans come with a purpose. They finance hand-picked, cheap and proven computer programming courses for the clients, who otherwise could not afford the 6-month training. As part of the programme, they also access and gain recognition on online freelancing portals doing programming jobs. As a result, they will be able to pay back the loan from their salaries while improving their skills. In the end, they are left with considerable coding skills and great reviews on a worldwide freelancing website, and no debt burden to refinance.
This summer, I had the opportunity to work with people like Ferdinand. I was an intern at a Barcelona-based business incubator for social enterprises, Ship2B. Working in a company of 9 self-motivated, unpaid “employees” with start-up and strategic consulting background provided me with great experiences and unseen freedom in structuring my work, while bearing fundamental responsibilities, such as defining which companies we will take into our programme and which we reject; or interviewing entrepreneurs we identified as best practitioners on behalf of my company.
Oh, almost forgot to mention Barcelona. Let’s face it, I came back here for the parties, the sea, the Catalan and the Spanish people too, besides my work. Since it was my second time living in Barcelona (after having had my CEMS at ESADE), I had time to appreciate the more subtle wonders of Catalonia, tackling flocks of tourists like a home-grown Catalan.
And did I mention that my boss also had been a CEMSie? A few weeks ago, at her wedding, I met even more CEMS alumni now working spread out around the globe, but they all returned here for the big event. Maybe we did pick the right degree after all.
Story & photos: Tamás Racskó