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Shaping culture - from blog to Erfurt's city magazine with EFFECT

Luise (26), Anika (27) and Lukas (28) are Feels Like Erfurt. At the beginning of 2023, the Founders Service met with the team in a relaxed conversational atmosphere to find out about the current development of the company. Over hot coffee, Anika and Luise chatted out of the sewing box and revealed in particular their plans for the current year. They also took us on a short journey back in time to the history of their start-up.

Team Feels like Erfurt
Feels like Erfurt - Team

Shaping culture together - from a personal blog to Erfurt's city magazine with EFFECTIVENESS

From a rather personal blog, written at the time by the initiator Jessika Fichtel, which Anika discovered on Instagram, came the now very successful city magazine Feels like Erfurt. Anika Luthardt is now the managing director and is supported by journalist Luise Senneke and Lukas Schmidt, who is responsible for marketing and design.

In a socially very exciting and challenging time, especially due to the Corona pandemic and all its effects, all three ventured together into entrepreneurial activity alongside university, which was to pay off. Lukas, who had already gained his first entrepreneurial experience, knew what he was getting into, believed in the concept and encouraged Anika and Luise to stay on the ball.

Besides the pandemic, however, there were other hurdles to overcome. Anika and Luise met on the Master's programme in Media Education at the University of Erfurt. The balancing act between studying and starting a business was not always easy. However, there are of course many advantages to still being a student. Among other things, the university has a Founders Service as a free contact point for all those interested in setting up a business and those with ideas. Both were very happy to have started their studies in the year before Corona. A time when it was still possible to make personal contacts and exchange ideas without any problems.

They both particularly liked the informal atmosphere at the University of Erfurt. Erfurt is a rather small and cosy city and the campus is not too big. You can keep track of everything and quickly recognise faces. Anika and Luise find Café Hilgenfeld to be a special kind of place, which is part of the campus but still represents its own cosmos in its own individual way.

After the rather theoretical Bachelor's programme at the University of Leipzig, they both found the practical orientation of the university lecturers at the University of Erfurt very refreshing. The much sought-after children's channel, where Anika and Luise were also employed even beyond the practical semester, unfortunately does not offer a place for all students of media education. However, according to both of them, connecting companies and students even more strongly could be forward-looking and further increase the attractiveness of the degree programme.

Feels like Erfurt is characterised by a particularly strong team spirit. Only in this way have you been able to milestones in just a few years. In addition to the actual founding and completion of their Master's degree programme, the team recently successfully initiated and completed a crowdfunding campaign for the specially developed "city event boxes - erfurt.unboxed". These and other products were presented to interested residents and tourists in the pop-up store in Erfurt's Marktstraße until the beginning of January.

Other highlights in recent years include winning the University of Erfurt's start-up ideas competition and the Thuringian Start-up Award - ThEx AWARD 2022, in the category Impulsgeberin. Added to this is the successful participation in the MEDIAstart programme, offered by the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM). Here, the team receives 1,000 euros per month for one year to cover part of the operating costs. Currently working Feels like Erfurt are still working Feels like Erfurt is currently working exclusively "remotely", but they plan to rent their own premises in the future.

This year, however, there is a lot more on the agenda for the three of them. Among other things, Luise will be hired as a permanent employee. New customer acquisition and regular customer care are also to be the focus, in addition to expanding the brand, especially to increase visibility.

"Last year we did five spots with Vita Cola," Anika reports. "We definitely want to push projects and partnerships like this further," adds Luise.

With the expansion of the third business field to support already existing regional companies in terms of addressing customers in a target group-specific way, the mutually beneficial cooperation is to be further strengthened.

One of the most important recommendations of the team from Feels like Erfurt team's most important recommendation to future founders is to "burn for what you do ... but without burning yourself out". This is the basis of everything. In addition to your own intrinsic motivation, you also need the will to invest a lot of work in your project, especially at the beginning. Coupled with a few lucky circumstances, such as being in the right place at the right time with one's idea, and a portion of composure, even in difficult phases, any venture can find its way to successful implementation.

For the team Feels like Erfurt is more than just a company. It is an affair of the heart!

The Founders Service at the University of Erfurt is pleased to see so much commitment and stamina already during the course of studies and is proud of so much entrepreneurial spirit that has grown out of a university with a social sciences and humanities orientation like ours!

We wish you Feels like Erfurt all the best!