Jungle Retreats: Empowering Entrepreneurs and Transforming Lives

The EIT Digital Master School has played a vital role in the journey of many entrepreneurial students. One such success story is that of Jungle Retreats, a startup created to address the need for meaningful connection and personal growth among professionals.

One of the co-founders, Sergiu Lazar Angelescu, attended the Data Science and Entrepreneurship course as part of the 2018 students' cohort, spending his entry year at the Eindhoven University of Technology and the second and last one at Technische Universität Berlin.

Together with co-founder Mariia Istomina, he went on to launch in 2022 Jungle Retreats which offers team-building retreats in beautiful natural settings, such as the Atlantic coast of Portugal or Como Lake and the Alps in Italy.

A sense of purpose

For those who are unsure about the direction of their life, feeling stuck, or wanting to expand their network with like-minded professionals, Jungle Retreats offers self-development retreats. These retreats provide an opportunity to step outside of one's comfort zone, connect with others, and discover one's purpose in life.

Jungle Retreats "There is a growing need for meaningful connection and personal growth among professionals. In today's fast-paced world, many people find themselves caught up in the daily grind of work and social expectations, with little time or space to reflect on their purpose and aspirations. As a result, I wanted to create a platform where professionals from all backgrounds could come together to explore their personal and professional goals in a supportive and inspiring environment, regardless of their economic situation, career stage, or life circumstances," Angelescu says.

The Master School’s factor

The founder cites his experience at EIT Digital Master School as a crucial factor in his entrepreneurial journey. The two-year programme provided him with essential skills, knowledge, and that helped him understand how to start and grow a successful business.

"In addition to developing my technical expertise, the programme provided me with exposure to various entrepreneurial ecosystems and opportunities to interact with successful entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors. Through these experiences, I gained a deeper appreciation for the value of innovation, risk-taking, and perseverance in achieving success as an entrepreneur," he says.

The programme also ingrained in him a mindset of continuous learning and improvement, which has proven critical in navigating the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship. Consequently, the founder gained the confidence, skills, and knowledge to pursue his ambitions and make a meaningful impact on society through the startup.

Sergiu Lazar Angelescu "The best part about running Jungle Retreats is the ability to positively impact the lives of our clients by providing them with a transformative and life-changing experience. It's incredibly rewarding to see people come to our retreats with various challenges or unfulfilled aspirations, and then leave with a newfound sense of clarity, purpose, and direction," Angelescu says.

Last but not least, having one's own business brings the flexibility of creating their own schedule, working from different places around the world, and creating a healthy work/life balance (most of the time).

Navigating the challenges

Not that it was always smooth sailing. Building a successful startup is never easy, and Jungle Retreats is no exception. Some of the biggest challenges the young entrepreneur faced while building the business include finding the right product-market fit, building customer trust, and establishing a strong brand presence in a crowded marketplace.

"To overcome these challenges, I've learned that it's important to accept that building a perfect service from the beginning is impossible. Instead, the key is to keep experimenting, learning by doing, and always working backwards from the customer needs," he says.

Other important factors have been persistence and resilience. It's not always easy to stay motivated and keep pushing forward when faced with obstacles, but staying committed to the original vision and purpose has helped the startup to keep going, even when things got tough.

Lessons learned

"My advice for other students thinking about creating their own startup is simple: if you have an idea, always give it a try and test it out. Don't be afraid to experiment, fail, and learn from your mistakes. In addition, try to bootstrap your business as much as possible," Angelescu says.

Being able to maintain operations entirely from customers advance payments gave the founders an incredible advantage both in terms of having to be more creative operating under resource constraints and validating that we provide real value which customers are willing to pay for. The absence of debts also gave them strategic flexibility and self-confidence.

"Overall, building Jungle Retreats has been a journey of learning, growth, and discovery. While there have been challenges along the way, I'm proud of what we've achieved so far and excited about the future of the business," Angelescu says.

Visit the Master School page to learn more about our entrepreneurial master’s degrees.

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