CASE OF SUCCESS
ALINA DEMCHENKO, A REAL STORY
Alina Demchenko is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor who’s involved in several startup projects both in and outside of Barcelona. Alina opened her hotel – Musik Boutique Hotel – in El Born in 2012.
Two years later, she decided to apply to ESEI’s Master’s in Business Management course to hone her management skills. Since then, she has also founded Welthy, a healthy food delivery startup in the city.
We asked Alina about her experience at ESEI and how her studies helped propel her towards a successful career as an entrepreneur.
Have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur?
It’s not like it was my plan. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so that may have had something to do with it. Originally, I wanted to work in international relations or politics. But later on, I realised that I always have new ideas that I get really passionate about. I always want to start something new. You don’t become an entrepreneur from one day to another: it’s something that you evolve into.
When did you launch your first startup project?
I’ve been working on different kinds of projects since I was 20. Not all of them were successful. At first, I had too much passion and little experience. I made mistakes and I learned from them. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t, you just have to move on to the next thing.
How did your studies at ESEI help you in your career?
I think the biggest value of ESEI is the amazing professors who teach there. They motivated and inspired me, and taught me all the skills I needed. The classes were held in small groups, so we had a very close, personal relationship. I vividly remember the professors that I liked the most and I’m still in touch with some of them. They helped me take the extra step.
Why did you decide to do the Master’s in Business Management programme at
At the time, I was already running my hotel and I wanted to acquire some new skills, especially when it comes to management. Someone recommended ESEI to me – I had friends who had gone there. So I decided to enrol and it was a really nice experience. I enjoyed going to class, I made a lot of close friends and I learned tings that I could directly apply in my work. The classes were on weekends so they fit perfectly into my schedule.
You’ve recently started a new project, a healthy food delivery startup called Welthy. What drew you to this industry?
Whenever one of my projects stabilises, I always need a new mission, a need challenge. I can get excited about anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone. That’s what Welthy means to me right now. It’s also a very personal project. I love healthy food and lifestyle, so I’m transmitting that passion into Welthy.
Right now, there’s a huge demand for healthy food delivery as people are becoming more health-conscious. And Barcelona is a great place for it because we have lots of high-quality, fresh ingredients. Our mission with Welthy is to educate people to eat better and live better by changing their habits.
What was your biggest challenge when setting up Welthy?
Finding a head chef was difficult – the first one didn’t work out. In general, I think that building a team and finding the right people to work with is the most challenging part of running a business. You need to find people that you get along with and they also need to have skills that complement yours.
Another challenge that I encounter every time I start a new project is that little voice at the back of my mind that says: Is it going to work? When you’re starting a business, things go wrong all the time. You start doubting yourself. But I’ve learned to look for positive things in every situation, stay consistent, be disciplined and know my priorities.
What advice would you give to students who are starting a course at ESEI with the aim of becoming entrepreneurs?
Don’t just go there for the diploma. Be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions and start building long-term relationships with your professors. If you have a business idea, why not start developing it as your final project? That’s what I did. Find something that makes you passionate and you will have so much fun. You can get a lot more out of a Master’s programme than you would think.
FOUNDER AT WELTHY