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Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs: new business creator

European Commission - MEMO/13/412   08/05/2013

Other available languages: none

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 08 May 2013

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs: new business creator

Since 2009, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs enables new entrepreneurs – be they 'would-be' entrepreneurs armed with a credible business plan or entrepreneurs who started their own business in the last three years – to gain valuable skills and experience. Whether they wish to create a new venture, or expand an existing one to international markets, the programme allows them to spend time with experienced "host" entrepreneurs in another Member State and learn first-hand how to manage a small or medium-sized business (SME). The programme's specific objectives are to promote on-the-job-training, exchanges of experience and information between partners, and to enhance market access, identification of potential partners and networking.

Entrepreneurs who participate at the program are known as "New Entrepreneurs" and "Host Entrepreneurs". The first are "would-be" entrepreneurs, who are definitely planning to start their own business - based on a viable business plan, as well as entrepreneurs who have recently started their own business (less than three years ago).

The host entrepreneurs are successful and experienced entrepreneurs, owner-managers of an SME for more than three years. Both new and host entrepreneurs can come from any sector and must demonstrate motivation and commitment.

During the stay abroad new entrepreneurs perform several activities, such as shadowing a senior host entrepreneur; market research and developing new business opportunities; project development, innovation and R&D; taking a fresh look at existing business operations; understanding SME finance; branding, sales and marketing of the host entrepreneur’s company; and work on concrete projects from one or more of the above mentioned areas.

Tomorrow in Milan, while congratulating the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme’s participants, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, will underline that the programme would create new businesses and make the existing ones more robust, competitive and sustainable. New or stronger businesses would also mean less unemployment.

The programme fills a market gap

Statistics and surveys show that:

  1. 51% of young Europeans would be interested to follow an entrepreneurial route, but too few of them know how to put their ambitions into practice.

  2. The internationalisation of European SMEs is insufficient, with only 8% of them exporting their goods and services within the EU.

Quotes from participants

Daniela Cosme, new entrepreneur from Portugal, explains: "This experience was very valuable because what I learned, doesn´t come from books, and it isn´t taught in training courses, because it´s about experience, relationships, people, problems and solutions, business opportunities, unforeseen and frustrations, challenges and sharing of experience. Overall it’s about bonds that were created and endure."

Lucian Avadani, New Entrepreneur, UK: "It was an incredible opportunity which I totally recommend to new entrepreneurs that have just started or intend to start a business. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs provides an opportunity to learn at an early stage the art of entrepreneurship and how to avoid risks. In future, I hope that I will, in turn, become host entrepreneur and return the favour to another new entrepreneur in the European Union."

Ella Alcasas, host entrepreneur from Luxembourg, is also enthusiastic: "Without the programme it was impossible to imagine to be able to open a new branch in another country simply because it was too complicated for us, we would have needed to study a whole new market there."

Case studies

New entrepreneurs not only will acquire the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge necessary to run a successful business (e.g. marketing/sales, financial management, business plan elaboration) and increase the sustainability and resilience of new businesses, but also often find another entrepreneur to partner with. This often leads to cross-border cooperation by starting joint ventures.

Francine Huaman, who runs an aesthetics clinic, has hosted two young entrepreneurs. The first young entrepreneur she hosted was Luca Poli, an Italian doctor who wanted to open a clinic. He is now opening his second one and intends to open a third one. In total he has created 25 jobs so far.

Sébastien Aubert, founder and managing director of a company in the film production sector, was hosted in a consultancy in the film financing sector. In 2011, they developed the 3DFM project, which would be the first 3D stereoscopic Film Market in Europe. Sébastian’s company has been increasing its turnover since 2011, giving an employment opportunity to a new communication and marketing manager, assistant producer and fundraiser and an intern hired to help in developing a business angels network in Cannes.

Only a few examples are provided here. More success stories, which can be sorted by country, are available at:

http://www.erasmus-entrepreneurs.eu/page.php?cid=9

See interview with participants: Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs creates new businesses

How to participate in Erasmus for entrepreneurs?

You have a brilliant business idea but you’re not sure how to bring it to life? You are a newly established entrepreneur and need a helping hand? Or perhaps you are already running your own company successfully but would like to expand and would benefit from some fresh ideas? Then you need look no further than the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, a mobility initiative financed by the EU.

"Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs" helps new entrepreneurs to acquire relevant skills for managing and growing a small or medium-size enterprise by working with an experienced entrepreneur in another EU country for 1 to 6 months. This is done with the financial support of the European Commission. The stay contributes to improving their know-how and fosters cross-border transfers of knowledge and experience between entrepreneurs.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs provides practical and financial assistance for new entrepreneurs staying and working at companies of experienced host entrepreneurs in other EU countries. The matching of the new entrepreneurs with the host entrepreneurs is carried out with the help of the intermediary organisations.

Who can participate?

New Entrepreneurs (NE): "would-be" entrepreneurs, who are firmly planning to start their own business based on a viable business plan, and entrepreneurs who have recently started their own business (less than three years ago).

Host Entrepreneurs (HE): Host entrepreneurs are successful and experienced entrepreneurs, owner-managers of an SME for more than 3 years.

Concrete benefits for entrepreneurs

  1. Building of the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge necessary to run a successful business (e.g. marketing/sales, financial management, business plan elaboration) increasing the sustainability/resilience of new businesses.

  2. Accessing new markets, especially markets in other Member States. Too few European SMEs venture beyond their home market, new and host entrepreneurs give each other direct insight into their home markets and often also third country markets

  3. Cross-border cooperation: new and host entrepreneurs started joint ventures or found due to the exchange another entrepreneur to partner with

  4. Acquiring know-how, strengthening technical skills: the exchange also included the acquisition of new technical/professional skills related concretely to the sector of activity of the new and host entrepreneur

  5. Networking and building of strong relationships: trust and relationships were built in a risk-free environment which serve as a basis for an ongoing relationship for the purposes of mutual consulting, business referrals, joint ventures etc.

  6. Increased self-confidence of the new entrepreneur: new entrepreneurs are venturing into activities that are new for them and face numerous unforeseen challenges. Host entrepreneurs also act as mentors, helping to build tolerance for frustration, endurance and resilience in face of failures on the path to building a successful enterprise.

How does it work? Structure and implementation

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is financed by the European Union and operates across EU Member States (as of 2013: all CIP countries) by more than 100 intermediary organisations (IOs) competent in business support (e.g. Chambers of Commerce, incubators, start- up centres, etc…).

Some statistics

To date, the mobility initiative has facilitated over one thousand cross-border exchanges and currently there are about 5,000 entrepreneurs registered in the programme’s database. The majority of applicants are from Spain and Italy, where people are often obliged to start their own business or seek work in another country due to high unemployment. Destinations coming out tops in the popularity stakes for aspiring entrepreneurs is the UK, followed by Spain and Germany. A variety of sectors are benefiting from the exchanges, the advertising and promotion services account for 14%, followed by ICT (9%), tourism (9%) and legal, fiscal and consultancy services (8%).

More information on the programme, including how to apply can be found at www.erasmus-entrepreneurs.eu


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