Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Justyna Kamińska, I come from Poland. I am an art historian, a tour guide, and since recently an entrepreneur. I studied mostly in Poland, but also in Italy and in The Netherlands, where I graduated from a Master in Arts and Heritage: policy, management and education. After that I decided to stay in Maastricht.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
When I arrived in Maastricht, I found a complete new environment and I discovered that was not easy to find a job especially in the cultural field if you do not speak Dutch. I started to look around for different opportunities, and after a bit I realized that a good idea might be to start up my own business. This was a completely new world for me, but I was committed to realize my ideas. In January 2015 I decided to participate in one of the events for entrepreneurs, Startup Pirates. I went there with the idea of combining heritage with new technologies to prepare tours for experiencing cities in a nice, interactive way. I actually found the courage to present this idea to different people, and to pass it on. I am very happy I did that and I think I can call it my big achievement.
What are you looking forward to?
The idea presented in January evolved into what CityQuest is now. I founded CityQuest with two friends of mine, Wout Arets and Iggy van Lith. We are now very very very much looking forward to the point where we can finally see the idea turning in something tangible. Very soon we are planning to launch the first tours in Maastricht (end of August) and I am super enthusiastic about it and very happy to see the reactions of the first users.
Which advise will you give to other professionals?
What happened in my case is that I really entered a new environment; I went from studying the theory to the practical entrepreneurship, which might not seem so obvious if you are trained to be a museum guide or an academic for example. But I was curious enough to do that, and courageous enough to give it a try. So if I have to give an advice then it is to really keep your eyes open for new opportunities and even if something doesn’t look very familiar to you, try it anyway because then you will learn a lot of new things, and you will find new connections in different areas. This is what leads to new great ideas and new projects. Be curious and always try to connect different disciplines.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible.
Building a network between entrepreneurs of the different areas, this is very important, because there, is where the new ideas might be born. Another challenge is making sure that the professionals in the cultural field are aware of the different opportunities that there are for them.