Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs by Mish Sukharev

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 18th July 2014 and has been read 2552 times.

Are you stuck for ideas for your year abroad? Interested in finding an Erasmus work placement, but no idea where to begin? Do you have an enthusiastic interest in global markets and a great idea for a business, but lack the experience to turn it into a reality? If this is all sounding familiar, it might be that the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme is the perfect opportunity for you! Read on to discover more about the programme and how to apply!

1. What is the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme?

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is an EU-funded exchange scheme started in 2009. It provides the opportunity for business-minded students, recent graduates, or new entrepreneurs to spend 1-6 months gaining experience in a particular industry and learning from an established entrepreneur.

2. How long does the programme last?

The exchange programme can last from 1 to 6 months in total (where one month equates to 4 weeks). However, the exchange can also be segmented if necessary. You can go at any time of year, but the earlier you apply the better!

3. Who can apply?

The programme is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs, ranging from unemployed graduates to students and newly established entrepreneurs. There is no age limit and your (future) company can be in any sector you like!


The only requirements are:


You must be a permanent resident in one of the participating countries You must be planning to start a business (with a concrete and viable business plan) or have started your own business within the last three years. You must be motivated and committed to collaborate with an experienced entrepreneur from another participating country You must be enthusiastic and prepared to use your skill set to contribute to the host entrepreneur’s business You must be ready to complement the programme funds as needed to cover the cost of your stay abroad

4. Can I do this as part of my third year abroad?

Yes, it certainly fits the criteria for business and language courses! As with all year abroad placements though, you must check with your course organiser and international office that it fits with your degree requirements/curriculum. If your application is successful, you will receive funding to support you through the process, as if you were an Erasmus exchange student.

5. Which countries can participate?

The programme is accessible to all European new and host entrepreneurs who have their permanent residence in one of the 28 European Member States, Liechtenstein, Norway, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro,Turkey, Albania, Serbia or Israel.

6. What are the benefits for me?

If you are accepted on the programme, you will work with an experienced entrepreneur from another of the participating countries, who will help you to acquire the skills you need to run a small business or a social enterprise. As well as acquiring invaluable knowledge and experience, you will have the chance to create a network of contacts across Europe and to gain a new awareness of commercial possibilities abroad.

Furthermore, 87% of the start-ups founded by entrepreneurs who have participated in Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme are still in business today, whilst the average survival rate of start-ups after three years in Europe is only 57%. That’s a 30% increased chance of creating and maintaining a successful business if you participate in the programme. So what are you waiting for!

7.. How can I find a host entrepreneur?

Once successfully accepted into the programme, all participants are listed in an online catalogue. Approved new and experienced entrepreneurs can search the programme's database for appropriate partners and make suggestions to their intermediary organisation.

8. What about if I want to be a host entrepreneur?

You can apply to be a host entrepreneur if you own or manage a small or medium-sized business in one of the participating countries and have a minimum of three years' experience.

And it’s not just the young entrepreneurs who benefit from the programme!

The host entrepreneur will gain fresh perspectives on his/her business and gets the opportunity to cooperate with foreign partners and learn about new markets.

9. How do I pay for it?

The scheme is funded by a grant from the European Union.

Financial support will be provided on a monthly basis, with the first payment prior to departure. The amount of money you receive per month will be calculated on the average cost of living within the host country, ranging from €530 for Albania to €1100 for Denmark or Norway.

Your host country will often help you to find suitable, reasonably-priced accommodation.

However, make sure that you have sufficient funds to cover any extra costs!

10. How do I know it works?

Since its launch, the programme has produced many successful young entrepreneurs and has expanded the mind of both new and host entrepreneurs.

And if that isn’t enough, there are many case studies that testify to the benefits of the programme!

“The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme brought new perspectives to my business. The events department has been restructured, my staff gained new skills and my business has expanded into Spain!” - Ana Bela, Host Entrepreneur, Portugal

“Having an insight into the day-to-day activities of more experienced entrepreneurs is a real eye-opener” - Silvio Kunze, Germany, planning to start an advertising company

11. Will I receive any official help with my exchange?

The European Commission has officially appointed more than 150 intermediary organisations throughout the European Union and the other participating countries who act as local contact points for entrepreneurs, guiding them throughout the application process and the exchange to help establish a successful relationship with a suitable experienced entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs from participating countries with no local contact point may choose one located in a neighbouring country.

A list of local contact points in the United Kingdom can be found here, but don't forget that ThirdYearAbroad.com and our social networks are a useful resource of information from students who have lived abroad and want to pass on their advice!

12. I’m sold! How do I apply?

To apply, contact your nearest local contact point with:

Your Curriculum Vitae (preferably Europass) A document stating your reasons for applying (maximum 2000 words) A thought-out business plan

You will then receive feedback to help you to submit the best possible application.

When ready, you can register through an online form.

13. How does the selection process work?

The intermediary organisations assess the applications according to the programme assessment criteria and either accept the applications or put them on hold, if further information is needed. Unsuccessful applications will then be refused. Once accepted, entrepreneurs will be able to access the online catalogue to search for a potential business partner, with whom to start an exchange. A User Manual will be available for the accepted entrepreneurs, in order to help them through the matchmaking process. The selection process can take up to 15 working days, but may take longer if applications are incomplete.

14. Where can I go for more information?

For more detailed information on the programme and a step-by-step guide to the application process, check out the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs website

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