Early Warning Europe

ResC-EWE project

ResC-EWE project continues the mission of the EWE project to change mindsets in European entrepreneurship education, training, counselling, policies and in society to see failing not as a shame, but as an integral part of the life cycle of a company, i.e. something normal and possibly a necessity, as opposed to a taboo.

The work in the Early Warning Europe has demonstrated that ResC-EWE, risk prevention and early mitigation, is urgently needed in Europe to reduce the number of start-ups failing within the first years. Three of the participating countries – Spain, Poland and Greece are particularly affected by many insolvencies and bankruptcies. If the ResC-EWE interventions can reduce the failures of SMEs by only 1% in these countries within the life-time of the project, the project will already have achieved a considerable impact with great benefits for local, national and European economies and for the people involved.

Who is ResC-Ewe for?

The ResC-EWE project addresses the whole area of entrepreneurship education and training in Europe, which in some countries already starts at secondary school level and is extending into college and HEI education and non-formal/informal adult education and continuous /on-the-job/WBL training.

Also, guidance and counselling services for students, unemployed people, start-ups, SMEs will benefit of the project outcomes, streamlining risk prevention and mitigation skills into all dimensions of entrepreneurship education and training in Europe.


Definition and mapping of the specific needs and the skills in each participating country to make start-ups and existing SMEs resilient and future-proof

Development of a tool-kit with educational resources and guidelines for business counsellors, educational staff, VET/HEI students and entrepreneurs in SMEs

Development and deliver demonstration courses: A MOOC for guidance and educational staff, a course adapted to the needs of several levels of students in participating countries, work-based learning courses and materials to be delivered to SMEs

Development of a guideline (policy communication and recommendations) for streamlining ResC-Ewe training into European entrepreneurship education, training and counselling systems.

Early Warning Europe Mentors

Here are the first EWE mentors who would be tasked with supporting the entrepreneurs who fall into trouble, becoming the companions in change.

See Mentors on map

To check information about the mentor click on the photo

mentor early warning Dariusz Bednarski
mentor early warning Dariusz Bednarski

Dariusz Bednarski

Company: Grant Thornton

Industry: Tax, legal and business consultancy.

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Succession, taxes, legal structures of business, management of professional services companies

My passions:
My work, river barge sailing, motorcycling, travelling.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
I feel good, when I help entrepreneurs, when I can share my knowledge, experience and competences

mentor early warning Magdalena Kwiatkiewicz
mentor early warning Magdalena Kwiatkiewicz

Maria Magdalena Kwiatkiewicz

Company: YES

Industry: Jewellery

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Team management, researching customer needs and developing trade offers, sales, searching for passion​

My passions:
Photography, particularly portraits of people in their natural environment, expeditions to the end of the world. collecting of art and ethnic jewellery, helping others

 Why do I want to become a mentor:
In my company, I transferred most of operational responsibilities to my son, Tomasz Kwiatkiewicz. I had built teams, which can implement companies strategy of the company on their own and in an excellent manner.  Time has come to try and share my experience with others, who may have had less luck in running their companies. I fulfil many of my passions. I visited many places across the world. I bring back sets of photographies. I want to grasp the changing world and show it. I participate in several charity undertakings in Poland and Nepal. Mentoring fits very well into the form I satisfy my passions.

mentor early warning Henryk Pietraszkiewicz
mentor early warning Henryk Pietraszkiewicz

Henryk Pietraszkiewicz

Retired banker

Industry: Finances

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Financial analysis of companies, lending for business operations, loan restructuring, restructuring of companies, company management, negotiations with banks, company crisis management plans, recovery of loans

My passions:
Broadly understood entrepreneurship in Poland, financial support instruments for micro, small and medium enterprises, politics and modern history, horse breeding, sports (football, tennis, cycling).

Why do I want to become a mentor:
Polish entrepreneurship is very young. It slowly enters its second generation. As any of us, it is prone to mistakes. I believe everything should be done to limit bankruptcies and liquidation of companies with interesting histories of their operations and a potential for further development. Companies get in trouble for various reasons. They are not always able to mobilise and draft remedial plans. Sometimes they lack knowledge or experience. More than 20 years of experience in banking and cooperation with different companies help me to quickly diagnose situation of companies and to draft recovery plans. Helping others, sharing one’s experience, is a very valuable paradigm. Participation in the mentoring programme is another interesting experience for me and great pleasure.


mentor early warning Ewa Magier
mentor early warning Ewa Magier

Ewa Magier

Company: Autosfera

Industry: Diagnostics and repair of motor vehicles

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Creation of leaders and substitutes, setting priorities and values in life and work, analysis of sales data, cost controlling, setting operational and strategic goals, process approach, quality systems, the newest ISO 9001:2015 standard taking into accounts risk management and the concept of organisation’s (company’s) stakeholders.

My passion:
I spent most of time on acquiring knowledge on sociology and management. I like to listen to accounts and arguments of people, whom I value for their attitudes, wisdom and knowledge. My passion is good conversation on non-trivial topics in the area of sociology, psychology, management, economics, history, culture. I am interested in art and creation. I paint and draw a little myself. I actively practice sports: running, swimming, cycling, roller-skating, skiing, windsurfing, tennis. My most recent passion is Argentinian tango – I dance and listen.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
I accepted myself and my place on Earth. I do not have problems with my ego. I am a person, who continuously explores and is open to new ideas, changes and diversity. I like people. Today, I feel mentally strong and I can share this power with others. I believe that mentoring and good conversation help people in many situations brought by life. I would like to get to know the methodology of this form of assistance better and help people to the best of my capacity and draw joy from my actions. I want to become a mentor, because I see people with less experiences and feel I could give them something of value. Sometimes, even just expressing interest in their problems is important. I am motivated by the feeling of gratitude for my life and faith in good nature of people. Moreover, I am motivated by other people being curious of the world. The joy of other people gives me strength.

mentor early warning Grzegorz Maślanko
mentor early warning Grzegorz Maślanko

Grzegorz Maślanko

Company: Grant Thornton

Industry: Tax and legal consultancy

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Tax and legal consultancy (commercial company law).

My passions:
Choir singing, mountain trekking.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
I believe that this way I can effectively support other people.

mentor early warning Ewelina Pisarczyk
mentor early warning Ewelina Pisarczyk

Ewelina Kosińska

Company: Sukcesorka.pl

Industry: Manufacturing of construction chemicals

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Those requiring working with people. I put a lot of energy in relations and their proper development, as I believe that this is the only way to build something of value. I continue to improve my competences in management, on the principles leading the so called turquoise companies, where the boss is an advisor, helping employees to untap their potentials, rather then a supervisor and executor. I believe that in near future this model of management will replace traditional hierarchy based management patterns.

My passions:
I am lucky enough to pursue my passion almost continuously, as my passion is our family company. I am most inspired by the fact that I am able to create the reality around me, while the creation process itself, initiated in unexpected circumstances can be transformed into something tangible and bringing benefits. When I need to catch some breath from work, I escape to nature. A walk, working in the garden, growing own vegetables is my way to relax and stay in balance.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
The were several difficult moments in the history of our company, which took us where we are now, Looking back, none of us would want to change anything that happened, and knowing that it was very bad for a moment and this is why it is all well now, gives us certainty and the feeling that we will always manage. I look at being a mentor as a king of mission, as I want our history to give some comfort to other entrepreneurs and make them believe that even hopeless situations do not mean the end, and often the end of a certain stage means marks the beginning of something better. Moreover, I believe that the you can only achieve true success, if you know the taste of failure.


mentor projektu early warning Marcin Kowalski
mentor projektu early warning Marcin Kowalski

Marcin Kowalski

Company: Human Partner

Industry: Consulting

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
I specialise in innovation, support for development of organisations, human resources management, including leadership. I have more than 10 years of experience in training and consulting sessions for senior management of small and medium enterprises. In 2015, I worked for the World Bank as an advisor in Poland.

My passions:
My professional passion is cooperation with entrepreneurs on ambitious projects, which contribute to development of companies both at the organisational and personal levels. It is also my hobby to acquire knowledge on management and innovation and to improve my competences.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
For a number of reasons: mentoring is viewed as the most effective method for development of employees and management of organisations. Individual mentoring sessions in the project are an opportunity to meet interesting entrepreneurs and to inspire and stimulate the development of their potentials. As a business development consultant I would like to continue to develop myself, and mentoring facilitates development of own interpersonal and leadership skills.

mentor early warning Ewa Magier
mentor early warning Ewa Magier

Ewa Jankowska

Company: Cafe Creator

Industry: Coffee and tea manufacturing

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
Company management, development of a vision and strategy, identification of development paths, finding one’s niche in the market, introducing tranquillity and harmony to teams, searching for innovative products, negotiations, building long term success based on credibility of everything I do.

My passions:
Fiction and expert business literature, which continue to provide knowledge for taking personal and business decisions in constantly changing environment. The passion for reading translates into astrology and cosmetology with components of holistic ethics.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
Our family company CAFE CREATOR was established in August 2012. The company is owned by my daughter, Alicja Jankowska. We have a contract on cooperation and exploitation of my know-how, as a long time Production Director of Poznan Astra Coffee Roasting plant and a member of a research team.
My 40 years long professional and scientific experience and an enormous passion were the reasons for establishing our company. I am a recognised expert in the area of coffee quality and processing. My knowledge, competences and the will to share success are confirmed by numerous certificates and awards, both granted to me personally and to our young company. They show how I look at my business, myself and co-workers. In order to succeed one has to go through all levels of all stages of initiation – from glory to defeat, while failures are road signs on the way to success.

mentor early warning Victoria Iwanowska
mentor early warning Victoria Iwanowska

Victoria Iwanowska

Company: Victoria Iwanowska

Industry: MICE, travel agencies

Business domains, in which I feel most competent:
I see business and private dreams as a GOAL. This is why I am most effective at the stage of vision, guiding the action and supporting implementation. I inspire and motivate teams to find the answer to “how” rather than to “if”. I believe we can!

My passions:
My biggest passions include travelling, interacting with different forms of culture and art, experiencing tastes and aromas.
I dive, dance, I get my endorphins from running, snowboarding, horse riding on a beach.
I rest in spas, practising yoga, reading, doing nothing and cooking for meals with friends.

Why do I want to become a mentor:
I wish to be a mentor in the Early warning programme to use my assets and professional experience to help other entrepreneurs. For 15 years I have ran a family company supporting companies and their employees in pursuing their dreams. In our company we also fulfil our own dreams and we have a lot of successes, big and small, but at the time of crisis it was very hard.
I believe that systematised support may assist entrepreneurs in recovering easier and faster, therefore today I want to support companies in their difficult moments.
I believe that by making small steps we can change the world.
I offer my experience, energy and commitment.

Andrzej Rusek

Company: AMR Consulting Andrzej Rusek

Field: counselling and consulting

For 24 years, I worked for the L’Oréal Poland group at various management positions. I served a long portion of this time on the management board. I believe that I have considerable experience and competences. Now, as an independent counsellor and investor, I want to volunteer to share my knowledge as a mentor. In my opinion, the Early Warning Europe project is very interesting and useful.

Aneta Sadowska

Company: Q&A Communications

Field: PR

Project management, building teams for specific assignments, crisis/corporate PR, public consultations – these are the professional areas in which I feel most competent. I believe that my experience obtained in over 400 projects over my 16 years of PR work provides a solid foundation of knowledge to share with others.

Krzysztof Kasperuk

Company: Panheri

Field: training, consulting, public speaking

Business is a school of life, which offers various experiences. Some of them involve various business problems. In such situation, it is good to have someone to help. I personally believe that entrepreneurs should help each other because whatever we give will double in return.

Patryk Filipiak

Company: FilipiakBabicz Kancelaria Prawna, Zimmerman Filipak Restrukturyzacja

Field: legal and restructuring counselling

The Early Warning Europe initiative is the missing link, which, in scope of business and legal turnover, will make entrepreneurs want to take preventing measures before fixing their company is no longer an option. Right now, under various forms of activity, I diagnose the unawareness of entrepreneurs concerning the existence of effective instruments of protection and support in the event of a crisis. Despite some really good legal instruments, the applications to courts or out-of-court restructuring processes are still too late.

Magdalena Kasiarz-Lewandowska

Zbigniew Kaczor

Agnieszka Simon – Adamczewska

Company: Korrelat grupa doradcza

Field: business counselling

In Early Warning, I want to do what I professionally to every day – I want to share my knowledge and experience. I am a business controller – I have been designing and implementing decision support systems for executives in enterprises at various stages of development and in various conditions for the past twenty years. I carry out extensive due diligence for credible assessment of said condition and develop restructuring plans.

Piotr Błażejewski

Company: Stara Przędzalnia

Field: family business, business-local government cooperation, practical implementation historical property revitalisation and human resources programme

My personal and business experiences have made me realise that there are currently numerous family companies in a crisis. During the various conferences organised for such enterprises, I noted many times that we are in need of a support system for owners of family companies. The Early Warning Europe program is the perfect fit for these expectations. In the age of globalisation, family companies need such support to compete with the foreign corporations operating on the Polish market.

Joanna Śnioch Młynarska

Company: Śnioch i Partnerzy; Śnioch i Kulik S.J.; Major Dev Sp. z o.o.

Field: finances and insurance; property renewal; real estate management; real estate rental.

After years of working in management for corporations, the time had come for my own business. I opened one company and then several more. I went though small and big crises caused by internal and external problems. My passions include globetrotting, fine literature, cooking, and a completely new one – restoring old and damaged objects to their former glory.

Ewa Błażejowska

Company: Błażejowska Nowakowski Radcowie Prawni

Field: legal counselling

I want to share my experience and grow my own competences with the experience of others. I want to improve my understanding of behavioural mechanisms, meet people, and face solvable problems. The professional areas in which I feel most competent include corporate legal counselling, IT, information security, intellectual property, construction investments, labour law, and succession.

Donata Ignaszak

Company: Ignaszak

Field: automotive commerce and services

My passion is helping others to understand the point of their lives, supporting them, and assisting them as a natural medicine consultant. In my 25 years of operating a family company, I have amassed plenty of experience, which can come in handy for other people facing similar challenges. Even though I am at the age of retirement, I still take active part in the company’s operations but accept the leadership passed to the next generation.

Piotr Hans

Company: NOVOL, Stowarzyszenie Księgowych w Polsce

Field: commerce (B2B), manufacturing (chemicals), professional services (training/counselling)

The professional areas in which I feel most competent include strategy, analysis, data analysis, finances, accounting, and risk management. I want to become a Mentor because sharing with others is a source of tremendous energy and because I like to do new things. I want to meet inspiring people (mentors, entrepreneurs). I know how to look at an enterprise “from above”, which will definitely be useful to companies in trouble.

Dariusz URBAŚ

Company: Kontraktors.pl

Field: construction

In Early Warning Europe, I want to share my business knowledge and experience. I am an entrepreneur with almost 20 years of experience. I have tasted both sweet success and bitter defeat. I want to provide both scientific and mental assistance to entrepreneurs about to experience problems or. Right now, I am operating several projects focusing on services for individual clients who are in the process of building their homes.

Zofia Rekosz

Company: Azyl Biuro Rachunkowe

Field: finances, accounting

I want to help others with my professional knowledge and experience. I want to support other companies in their development, but also in the difficult time requiring some tough decisions. I believe that all dark clouds have a silver lining. I experienced it for myself and want others to start believing it as well.

Tomasz Leśniak

Company: Kancelaria Lesta

Field: Legal counselling

I believe that many disputes can be resolved arbitrarily, which saves both time and money. The emotions arising before and during conflicts may lead to some irrational decisions, the effects of which are often irreversible. I want to help family enterprises resolve their conflicts to keep them from going to court.

Wojciech Dziewolski

Company: Dziewolski

Field: management, camper rental

The Early Warning Europe project is a very good idea. It provides the opportunity to share experiences and show practical ways to solve problems. I have been running companies of various sizes and in various stages – from establishment, through development (trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange), to erosion and liquidation – for almost 30 lat. I will be glad to share my experience and I hope that I too will be able to develop even more and meet creative and dynamic people of action.

Marian Ber

Company: natural person

Field: Business counselling

My motivation to become a Mentor comes from my desire to share the knowledge and experience I have obtained throughout my professional career. This experience comes from management of enterprises experiencing temporary problems. I know first-hand of situations where the entrepreneur is left alone with problems he or she cannot resolve alone because of insufficient knowledge. When I was experiencing such situations, I had the good fortune of people who helped my company and me and expected nothing in return. Knowing how important this is to an entrepreneur – both scientifically and mentally – I want to use this experience in work with enterprises.

Aleksander Pachole

Company: Atest Gaz A.M.Pachole

Field: industrial electronics

The professional areas in which I feel most competent include project management, corporate information and documentation management, and strategic management. If anyone sees my knowledge and experience as potentially useful, I can help in these areas. My private passions include classical music and hiking.

Irena Kurdziel

Rafał Lusina

Aneta Gibek-Wiśniewska

Paweł Indyka

Karol Wilczko

Agnieszka Czajkowska-Wendorff

Justyna Józefowicz

Dorota Wieczorek

Izabela Libera

Piotr Kaczmarek

Lucyna Ławniczak

Monika Sacewicz

Piotr Wendorff

Marta Ozga

Mariola Więckowska

Szymon Słojewski

Przemysław Przyjazny

Katarzyna Ryfka Cygan

Janusz Kunke

Janusz Magoska

Beata Szlachetka

Anna Nowotna Nadziejko

Grzegorz Kosson

Jacek Maliński

Dorota Dabińska-Frydrych

Grażyna Jaworska Piotrowska

Andrzej Matyja

Piotr Zachariasiewicz

Agnieszka Kluczna

Agnieszka Święcka

Andrzej Buczkowski

Anna Menes

Iwona Wierzgała

Janina Seredyńska Targosz

Katarzyna Kłopocińska

Maciej Firsowicz

Marzenna Tusza

Przemysław Biłozor

Renata Muszyńska

Radosław Ługowicz

Sylwia Michalak

Łukasz Abramek

Małgorzata Sypniewska

Tadeusz Woronowicz

Wojciech Wrociński

Hanna Kowal

Stefan Olech

Janusz Murawski

Marcin Fudal

Dariusz Wasylkowski

Joanna Gawlik- Dziadoń

Radomir Sobczak

Dariusz Ludwiczak

Agnieszka Krukowska

Sławomir Osuch

Wiktoria Jaros

Tadeusz Sudoł

Celina Koszany

Ewa Chojecka

Joanna Donata Spychała

Agnieszka Lewandowska

Ewa Wilczewska

Dawid Wardin

Katarzyna Jagiełło

Agnieszka Wdowińska

Andrzej Marton

Lidia Poradzisz

Paweł Gurgul

Ryszard Ćwiertniak

Joanna Pyda

Dorota Kwiatkiewicz

Wioletta Bartkowiak

Małgorzata Kotlonek

Katarzyna Jagiełło

Henryka Koblańska

Ewa Szafer

Early Warning Europe – Success Stemming from Organic Effort

Entrepreneur, Consultant, Mentor – these are the most important of the Early Warning Europe’s figures. However, to make it possible for this triangle of mutual help to work together, and thus to heal the troubled enterprise, many things need to happen along the way. Let’s have a look at EWE’s backstage.

The EWE personnel is ready to provide help for entrepreneurs in distress. This is a result of organic effort undertaken beneath the visible surface, by the team behind the Early Warning Europe project. Many people are involved in the whole undertaking.

Before the mentors or consultants appeared, someone had to recruit them and provide them with training. Since the very inception of the project – December 2016 – nine training events for mentors and twelve networking events for everyone involved have been organized. Thanks to those events it is possible to share knowledge and skills required to provide support. But this is not everything. Another benefit stems from the fact that we are able to meet everybody who is willing to become a mentor in person. On one hand the meetings contain workshops and other training-related activities. We frequently invite foreign experts who, since many years, have been involved in similar projects similar to EWE abroad. On the other hand, using that experience, we have created our own mentor-training solutions, and mentoring process methodologies. We also see that the training provides the mentors with a high degree of autonomy, enabling them to take over and show their own initiative. This is shown through creation of small teams, for instance, and all of that is done to help the troubled entrepreneurs.

These activities, not visible on the outside, are creating an important basis for all involved in the project. Furthermore, they result in establishment of an authentic bond among the Polish EWE team – and this, in our opinion, is the cornerstone of the success that EWE had in Poland so far. Thanks to that it is possible to perfectly match the mentees and mentors, with the entrepreneurs reaching out for help.

Not only do we know all of the mentors in person, for the sake of assurance we also check their personality types, so that we are sure that the temper of the entrepreneur and his consultants or mentors go well together.

We proceed in line with the rules of Nonviolent Communication. We make proposals, not give orders. We propose the mentors or consultants the entrepreneurs they could work with, but before the cooperation begins each of the parties involved needs to accept our proposal.

It needs to be stressed that the mentors involved work as volunteers, not receiving any remuneration whatsoever for their mentoring effort. And this deserves enormous respect. However, no full involvement could be expected, if the mentors had no benefit from participating in the project. Apart from great satisfaction resulting from saving their mentee’s business from falling apart, the mentors, as they admit, get a chance to work with their experience in varied circumstances and through a number of problems. This makes it possible to reach conclusions, both for the next mentees, as well as for the mentors themselves. In this way, new solutions can be provided, applicable in the context of common problems.

One should also note that most of the mentors also work as entrepreneurs, and this evokes enormous respect – we know how hard it is to handle all of own problems and provide support for other businesses at the same time.

So far over 500 companies have received EWE support in Poland, with 100 mentors having been recruited. Up until now they completed 160 mentoring processes. EWE also sees a major involvement of all persons working within the scope of the project.

All this means that there is a significant chance that the dream the Family Businesses Foundation once had stands a chance of coming true. This dream is to create a network of support the lifetime of which would extend beyond the limits set within the project’s assumption, and that it would still function after the project is settled and brought to a closure by EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). We deeply hope that the team we have formed, and that we are still forming, will still work well and offer mutual support among its members. This reaches beyond what has been assumed. We believe that a community as such could remain open, so that more people willing to help could join us.

It is also worth to note the added value created by unusual duo: FFR-PARP. The complementarity of the know-how of both entities undoubtedly contributes to the success that we are witnessing in Poland. PARP acting as a partner provides the project with a major, institutional advantage, with support granted within the scope of logistics, systemic solutions and access to resources that have not been available to any entity in the country so far. Had it not been for the Agency, it would not be possible to disseminate information concerning the Early Warning Europe programme among 450 thousand entrepreneurs who have been reached via the Central Registry and Information about Business Activities (CEiDG). Access to such a database is not available to anyone else.

On the other hand, we, the Family Businesses Foundation act as the driving force of the project, bringing in lightness, agility and individual approach, wherever they may be needed. Thanks to the above PARP and FFR are walking hand-in-hand, thus acting with such power and engagement.

Undoubtedly, both PARP, as well as FFR, have deep love for this project. Without that love, we would not have been able to accomplish what we have managed to accomplish. Finally, I would like to stress the attitude with which we approach the entrepreneurs in need of a helping hand. It turns out that they do not ask for help following an ad, they are following referrals – as in the case described further. However, a majority of entrepreneurs reaches out after their first interaction with the project – mostly after an event that we attend to tell the EWE story. To reach the entrepreneurs we have attended 36 meetings, during which we spoke to an audience of almost 15 thousand. And all of the above has been done by a small team of the Foundation: 5 persons, including one accountant.

However, thanks to the above only adequate entrepreneurs ask EWE for help. Not only are they in need of assistance, but they are also ready to fight for what they deserve, for survival of their business. Without that, it would be impossible to be successful, in any dimension.

To show you the process undertaken within the framework of the EWE project, we are willing to showcase a story of one of the companies that has already used the help provided by us. The story in question is being told from three points of view: consultant’s, mentor’s and mentee’s – in this case – company owner who took part in the project.

Case Study – Consultant’s Point of View

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane”
~A. Einstein

We began working with Kasia from eating a cookie. Kasia invited me to have a conversation at her place, proposed a cookie and a tasty coffee and we started to talk.

My work began with taking care of the relationship. I started from building trust and a safe space for learning. My experience is telling me to make creation of a comfort zone for sharing the experience and conclusions one came up to when making mistakes is a priority, when doing a consulting job for a troubled company. Learning new strategies or habits requires a safe, friendly relationship to exist. Without the above, no depth occurs, we only scratch the surface. Without an honest, open and deep relationship it is difficult to tell a story about what did not work out, it is difficult to admit to own, personal failures. A relationship as such is worth to be established during the very first meeting, so that we make a rapid transition from getting to know the other person to constructive work.

It turned out that Kasia is an expert in her field, however, she struggles to develop her company. And that was the first definition of the problem. However, no consultant is needed to come to such conclusion. Working with Kasia involved asking questions concerning the mechanisms that led to emergence of the said problem. We were creating maps of the problem, uncovering its faces. We were looking at the problem from a number of point of views: finance-, marketing-, value-, goal-, process-, management- and customer-driven perspectives have all been adopted.

Throughout the consulting assignment in question I have been working in two domains. On one hand – the diagnostic dimension – I was taking great care of analyzing the information. On the other hand, I was working with the mental layer. The businesswoman’s self-esteem, the identity. The latter layer turned out to contain information pertaining to the source of the problematic issue. The self-perception, perception of business, perception of handling the business and business relations, methods used to develop business, were all creating mental barriers that required reconstruction and adaptation to the changing reality. We have managed to work, crushing some of the beliefs. We have made it. This was the breakthrough in case of Kasia. Getting aware of one’s way of thinking, with that way of thinking leading to emergence of issues turned out to be liberating for Kasia. Getting these thinking patterns onto the surface and thus noticing them also made it possible to recognize them and to look for potential opportunities among them.
Working with strong points and assets turned out to be an effective, when working with Kasia. Getting to know one’s strong points and assets resulting from any action she took gave Kasia a pair of wings. She was doing more and more, getting involved and proud about anything she did.

Kasia did notice her potential in a number of areas which triggered the aware use of her assets. She was surprised and astonished with the capabilities she had. She did not know that she had so much. I remember the emotions that accompanied us when those discoveries were made. We were both thrilled. Once Kasia found out what remains at her disposal she knew how she can use it. And only afterwards, the mentoring process could start.

What turned out to be useful in Kasia’s case is the formation of a relationship allowing her to freely admit to any mistakes she could have made. Getting rid of feeling guilty is of key importance here. It is quite common in situations as such. The second milestone came in a form of an in-depth analysis that led to a discovery of Kasia’s thought patterns leading to problems. Here, the awareness of causality was crucial.

The third milestone has been defined here as the awareness of strong points: Kasia’s and her business’s. Obviously the diagnosis was done in an open atmosphere, open towards coaching needs of the mentee, with listening understood as a partner’s competence, in a relationship defining the limits of each of the parties. All of the above was conducted with the use of a myriad of work methodologies tailored to the customer.

Agnieszka Szwejkowska,

Case Study – Mentee’s Point of View

I have discovered the Early Warning Europe initiative thanks to my friend from Wrocław who, listening to what I have to say and witnessing my energy, suggested that I should get to know the initiative in question. She’s quickly sent me a link. And I was procrastinating when it came to getting acquainted with the website, the nature of the project, not to mention the decision whether I would like it. When I finally sat down in front of the computer studying the information I came to a conclusion that it is not really sensible for me to participate in a programme as such. “I know what to do myself” – I said to myself.

“I have a plan, I have steps arranged”. But then, another thought came into my head: “And I am not sticking to that plan anyway”. I was torn apart. On one hand I felt that something is not right and that I need help, on the other hand, something was keeping me in the old tracks. I was thinking that it is not so bad, that I have my strong “why?”, that my goal, visions and plans are clear but I simply lack discipline. And people experience trouble that is usually far more serious than that. I called my friend then, looking for a kind of confirmation – should I really make a decision to join this initiative. And then, she said:

– You know, sometimes one needs to have a look at your issues from a different point of view, seeing something that you do not see.

So, I chose the consultant and sent a submission.

It was early November 2017 when Agnieszka Szwejkowska called me to make an appointment. I remember all of the positive energy and drive towards action evoked in me by that phone call. I gave a meaning, significance to that period. I knew that something new was coming up. It was the moment when I realized where that energy came from – I did not even meet Aga, and yet, the submission itself was a breakthrough for me. That breakthrough made me realize that I took care of myself and I had a courage to direct someone’s attention solely and exclusively towards myself. I knew it later on, during the project, I was beginning to understand the phenomenon of giving the most precious thing one has to the other human being: time and attention. On one hand, I knew this. I work as a mentor myself. On the other hand though, that awareness has reached deeper levels of empathy and understanding. Not only did it influence my work with myself, as it also had an impact on what I was doing with other people.

When working with Agnieszka, it was very important to me that she was a meditation practitioner and a psychologist. I needed a point of view provided by someone who knows my thing and has a degree in psychology at the same time. Agnieszka has this incredible calmness in herself. That calmness and attention have created a safe space for me, within which i could freely open myself towards the process. It was priceless to listen to myself, see my doubts and answer the questions Agnieszka was asking, so that I could get aware of the fact that my thinking patterns are the only stumbling blocks I was encountering. It was a relief and a Eureka moment at the same time.

I am an open person who is eager to have an honest converseation. However, had it not been for Agnieszka’s attitude and the conditions she has created, I would not have told her all that I have told her and I would not have understood as much as I have understood. Even if I told her, I would not be eager to follow the tips later on. The trust Agnieszka created made it possible for me to believe in what she had to say, in her conclusions, in her point of view and in her suggestions. This accelerated the change also creating more energy and drive, towards the objectives that I have set for myself. No wonder then, that when she proposed a mentor to me, showcasing his profile and the reasons why I would fit well with that very person, expecting good and constructive results, I only said: OK, let’s do it!

I was really interested in Darek Urbaś as a person, following the e-mail communications we had and making the first appointment I really felt that he has a lot of energy and optimism in himself. I was not wrong here. Darek is just like I said, full of energy, smiling, to the point and decisive. My doubts were scrutinized, with the most important things selected. Then my actions were directed and monitored, to make sure I was heading in the right direction. Starting from the very first meeting, he was specifi and friendly. We discussed the initial steps, also setting out the rules of cooperation. Then, it all got even better.

Work with Darek was focused on the domains that, so far, have been slipping through my fingers. It is a very precious experience to work with a person who is so good to talk to, with whom you may joke, or with whom you may constructively work on your weaknesses, whose nature and experience complement your weaknesses, with whom you have flow. In other words: Darek, as to my understanding, was representing the tangible “hard” world. I, on the other hand, was coming from the “soft world”, with a strong resolution, that it’s high time to implement the hardness.

The moment when Darek presented his own approach has been a breakthrough – he told me the lessons that life taught him. And these lessons were coherent with my cognition, feelings and the “soft” approach. This created more energy and willingness to take action. I was feeling that life was providing me with support, coming in a form of a human being speaking in an understandable language and telling me about the proven ways to combat the issues I have been avoiding.

The effects were immediate. Finally, thanks to the monitoring, I started to deal with the matters of critical importance. With a solid foundation established with Agnieszka, with Darek who was a good listener as well, I transitioned to acting. The greatest benefits stemming from cooperation include growth of confidence that entailed new, courageous decisions, a clear course of action and creation of new habits and inner peace. That inner peace was supported by being aware that I’m not alone. On one hand, Darek has been a precious a source of valuable information. On the other, it often was enough to talk my trouble “out”. Then, the answer came in automatically. It was even more motivating when I heard that the cooperation was also precious for him and that our meeting led to some important decisions that he has made. Then I was grateful for the decision I’ve made in November even more, again – coming to a conclusion that life is fascinating.

I thank all of the EWE people for this experience, with Agnieszka and Darek coming first. I am also thanking myself, for making the decision.

Early Warning Europe mentee

See what other Mentees say about their experience with EWE

Case Study – Mentor’s point of view

I have received Kasia’s details in mid February. Agnieszka Szwejkowska, working as a consultant shared a rich and exhaustive SWOT analysis with me, concerning the Kasia’s potential. Thanks to the materials provided by her, my job was easier. Since the very beginning I’ve known what should be done.

Since the very first meeting I knew that I am not dealing with a person who was breaking down or whose business is going down. I met a person in need of support and helping hand when it comes to the changes she wants to implement, in her life and in her business. Thanks to the consultancy process, Kasia found out that there is so much to do that she began to doubt her ability.  She was not sure whether she will be able to handle everything and whether she will be making right decisions, when it comes to the tasks that she would need to complete first.

Thanks to the SWOT analysis carried out by Agnieszka and thanks to the first meetings we had I came to an understanding that I am working with a person of huge potential who is going to get effects and results desired quick, if she does what’s needed first.

Agnieszka, through her in-depth analysis, has shown me the Kasia’s potential and what should be done. During the initial phase I focused mainly on threats. I assumed that this is the area that hampered the change the most. Recommendations I got were like a lighthouse that I had in my sight constantly, when I was working with Kasia.

Since the very beginning of the work we were open and reciprocal in our relationship. This was quickly creating proper results. At the very beginning we set out the rules of cooperation, assuming that, at least in the beginning, we should meet regularly, so that Kasia also creates a proper set of habits. She trusted me deeply, and she implemented all of the ideas quite rapidly.  We started from working on proper habits – this is where I recognized the key problem. Lack of priorities and the consequent chaos had been creating fear in her, that she was not doing what should be done. And this – where the priorities are – was the first issue that we addressed. First things first: we assumed that Kasia should be working in line with her priorities, pushing the less important matter aside. I understood that without better organization she will be unable to fully utilize her huge potential. Many of her weaknesses stemmed from lack of the skill to classify the matters to deal with in a proper and good manner.

When we reached the point when Kasia started to know how to manage her time and priorities – starting from the key matters – we went on, to solving further problems. We were working on raising the rates and supporting actions as such with proper arguments, in front of the potential customers. For me, myself, it was an incredible experience to observe how much can be achieved by a person trusting her mentor. I, so far, was not selling my services at a pricepoint we have been talking about. I got in Kasia’s and Kasia customers’ shoes, showing her how this could be done.

To my astonishment, Kasia adopted the proposed method, implemented it, and then her results were booming. This rapid income growth was primarily caused by a proper use of the existing potential.

Then, during the next stage, we have addressed her target group, creating a proper offer with particular focus placed on that very group. Kasia was getting more and more confident and work I was doing was becoming increasingly easier. Only small adjustments were needed for her to perfect her offer.

Meeting by meeting I was seeing that Kasia is becoming more and more confident, defining her priorities better on the basis of the assumptions she made. During one of the meetings I have told her that she has become a true entrepreneur from that moment on.  It was a great pleasure to have observed how much can be done by a person who remains in possession of immense capacity and who does not really need much to expand that potential, so that it unfolds. That person only needs a trustworthy companion to change who would support him/her during the tough time and provide her with occasional tips as to what should be enhanced.  Numerous cases emerged in which Kasia knew what and how action should be taken, and she only needed confirmation or a slight adjustments to begin. In many cases I was only the ideas critic who wholeheartedly provided suggestions as to what should be done. And she, I think, was seeing this and using that wholeheartedness.

Being a companion in change changed me as well. I was thinking that, within the framework of the program, I would be working with persons and companies who are on the brink of failing, needing a helping hand in deep crises. And in this case, the material I was working on has been very much different. We were working on getting better things out of Kasia, to enhance what she’s doing on a daily basis. And it was enough to achieve what was previously unachievable.

My change has also come at the level of recognizing my own competency. When joining the programme, following my own hardships, I had no inner understanding of the value that my support could have. My confidence was growing too, one meeting after another. I have found out that I have a lot of gifts that could be used to help the others. I have also found out that I have a proper know how and skillset at my disposal, to do so. This skillset was only waiting for being activated.

The cooperation helped me in setting my own business goals, that could be achieved thanks to my newly-discovered skills, resolving important issues for my customers. I had no aware goal as such when I was joining EWE. However, such business goals emerged during the work – here I am really grateful towards Kasia Gierczak-Grupinska who believed in me more than I did, when inviting me to participate.

The kindness of the Polish Family Businesses Foundation team and tangible acceptance expressed by other mentors gave me wings too. I did not think that this assistance that I decided to provide would change my life and help other entrepreneurs. The lonely people struggling with problems that emerge daily. Meanwhile, the solutions are close by – as close as a trustworthy person is who, with sensitive and honest approach, and proper know-how, can support us.

Dariusz Urbaś, 
Early Warning Europe Mentor

EWE Team in Poland

The EWE project in Poland is carried out by the Polish Family Businesses Foundation and by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. Both organizations work closely together, over the entire course of the project.

FFR Team

FFR is tasked with creating a mentor network, aimed at creating an environment in which they could work effectively. This is ensured through organization of training and creation of an experience-exchange platform.

Portret Katarzyny Gierczak-Grupińskiej, Fundacja Firmy Rodzinne
Portret Katarzyny Gierczak-Grupińskiej, Fundacja Firmy Rodzinne

Katarzyna Gierczak Grupińska, coordinator of mentor network

Sociologist, MBA, certified social change leader and facilitator of the international New Leader Circle of FBN International. Founder and president of the Family Businesses Foundation ffr.pl from 2011. Under the Foundation, she opened the FBN International branch in Poland. Founding member of IFR. Co-owner of the family business GELG gelg.pl, which operates in the field of high volume metal processing. She persistently continues to develop space for family businesses since 2006, taking advantage of common experiences and practical knowledge to prevent repeated stumbling over the same obstacles and making the same mistakes over and over again, losing the most valuable asset of all in the process: time. She promotes the Family Business Tree Umbrella Brand, which symbolises the pride of family entrepreneurs based on the following values: tradition, honesty, and responsibility handed down from generation. Mother of two teenagers, her passions include natural environment and globetrotting.

tel.: +48 500 297 297, email: [email protected]

Eleni Tzoka Stecka
Eleni Tzoka Stecka

Eleni Tzoka-Stecka, responsible for mentor development

She is a medical doctor, experienced manager in a multinational company (Servier Polska), certified Business Trainer (TROP), Business Practices Coach and Team Coach (Norman Benett Academy). Since 2008 she owns a consultancy and training business Epsylon Eleni Tzoka Stecka. She is a founding member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council EMCC Polska. After graduating form the Wellcoaches School of Coaching USA she became a Health Coach. As a trainer and consultant she helps to create job standards for managers and sales representatives. Regularly, she organises Manager Academies which aim to develop managing and coaching skills of Polish sales managers both in Poland and abroad (Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kazachstan). She lead projects such as: Train the trainers and designed sales departmental structure changes as well as skills systems. As a vice-president of Stowarzyszenia Łejery (Łejery Association, 2010 – 2014), she was participating in founding the first children theatre in Poland adjacent to the Łejery School in Poznań. Currently, she is involved in healthy lifestyle promotion and creation of pro-health workplace. She is a happily married with three children, literature, travel and yoga lover.

tel.: +48 603 093 532, email: [email protected]

Małgorzata Stromczyńska, informational support of the project

She has graduated from Journalism and Communication at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. During the studies she had an internship in the University radio station, it became her hobby rather that an idea for life. Today she uses her reporter’s skills writing and editing the Foundations newsletter and social media contents. In her daily job she enjoys meeting interesting people and difference of opinions. She prefers to spend her free time actively as she gave into the running fad, although, she has best time when discovering Poznań through walking tours.

Tel.: +48 694 191 647 email: [email protected]

Video materials




Photo Gallery


Early Warning Forum, Apr. 24. 2018

Here’s a photo gallery depicting the international EWE Forum meeting taking place in Warsaw, on April 24th 2018.

EWE Mentors Workshop

EWE Mentors Networking Meeting


The materials published via the present site are a part of the Early Warning project that received EU subsidy within the framework of the COSME project (2014-2020).

See the EWE Consortium document

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