How about going on an entrepreneurial exchange? Erasmus for young entrepreneurs.

The Erasmus programme has been around for almost thirty years now and it might be a great memory of your (recent) past or something to look forward to if you are younger. I remember getting really excited about Erasmus when seeing the film L’Auberge espagnole (The Spanish apartment) by Cédric Klapisch.

A second international experience after Erasmus: let me think...
A second international experience after Erasmus: let me think…

How about re-writing your own second film by doing another Erasmus, unlike Klapisch’s second film Russian dolls (Les Poupées russes, which was all about getting settled in life). What if your own second international experience was neither an academic exchange nor a trip to Russia (picture above), but rather a hands-on entrepreneurship programme in another company?

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps EU small and medium enterprises grow and learn from even newer entrepreneurs
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps EU small and medium enterprises grow and learn from even newer entrepreneurs

That’s right, the Erasmus programme is not only about university studies. The Erasmus for young entrepreneurs programme connects a new entrepreneur with an experienced one, with the view of providing him/her with practical experience abroad in his or her field.

Wait... ANOTHER Erasmus?
Wait… ANOTHER Erasmus?

Though youth and a university environment might facilitate entrepreneurship, in this case the new (or aspiring) entrepreneur does not actually have to be a student; he or she does not even have to be that young. But, importantly, his or her business should be less than 3 years old. And the principle is similar to Erasmus for students: a few months (one to 6) in another EU country, learning and networking. According to a survey by the programme office, personal skills like determination and confidence, as well as language skills and management skills are most acquired by the majority of participants in the programme, followed by marketing skills (boosted for half of the participants).

Specific objectives of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs include:

  • facilitating business exchanges
  • opening market access internationally
  • for the new entrepreneur: refining a business plan, discovering cultural differences in organisations and business practices and improving chances of success during the start-up phase
  • for the host entrepreneur: improving the growth potential of a potential business partner, possibly, or just getting insights from a motivated third party, and gaining visibility.

Financial support for the new entrepreneur is available in the form of subsistence costs  which vary depending on the host country, and the reimbursement of travel costs. Selection and implementation of the programme are made possible at the local level via so-called IOs, intermediary organisations.

61% of new entrepreneurs increased their turnover after participating in the programme.
61% of new entrepreneurs increased their turnover after participating in the programme.

You can hear some testimonies on the programme’s Youtube channels or this promotional video.

You can also read more about the programme’s official pages (in all EU languages) and apply.  Clearly expressing your motivations and expectations from the programme will make your application stand out, as well as a thought-out business plan with a description of your product or service, a market analysis including the target market and a benchmark analysis, and financial plan for the next two years.  Read this guide if you are a new entrepreneur.

While preferred sectors to start a company are advertising, architecture and engineering, and tourism and wellness, most host entrepreneurs work in advertising and… training services. And you, which sector would you like to explore to refine your start-up idea?

Clearly expressing your motivations and expectations from the programme will make your application stand out. Then you can find yourself moving from dream to mentorship!
You can find yourself moving quickly from dreaming to  being mentored in another country!

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