Elisabeth Winkler
October 1, 2022

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs: Innovation goes Europe!

This Erasmus programme for young entrepreneurs is about exchanging knowledge across borders. Young entrepreneurs get the chance to go to another country where they will be hosted by an experienced and successful entrepreneur. During their stay, the young entrepreneurs will get on-the job experience in running a business as well as gaining important insights into business development and access to an international start-up community. The hosting entrepreneurs will benefit from new perspectives on their business and get the opportunity to enhance their market access as well as expanding their network of possible business partners. 


Duration & Funding

The collaboration is supposed to last between one and six months. It is, however, possible to divide the stay into several intervals over the course of 12 months. The purpose of the programme is not to fund the aspiring entrepreneur, but to enable intercultural skill-sharing. Therefore, the financial support provided by the European Commission is measured after the cost of living in the exchange country as shown in this table. You will have to raise funds to cover additional costs.


Who can participate?

New entrepreneurs have to be in the early stages of their start-up. That can mean that they are planning on founding a business or that they already have in the past three years. They should have a good educational background and a sound business model. The also have to be a permanent resident in one of the programme participating countries.

Host entrepreneurs should be experienced owners of a micro or small business. That means they should have at least three years experience as manager or owner of an enterprise.


Intermediary Organisation (IO)

You will then have to select an intermediary organisation from your country which will function as your local contact point, helping you with your application, finding a suitable exchange partner, etc. During the exchange, the intermediary organisation affiliated with your host will be responsible for answering any questions and helping you with any problems you might have. The intermediary organisations can be incubators, chambers of commerce, start-up centres, etc. 

This is a system commonly used by Erasmus programmes and it works quite well because it divvies up the responsibilities in a way that allows everyone to focus on their individual part of the project: The European Commission bears the political and financial responsibility, while the IOs organise the exchange.  The entrepreneurs are first and foremost responsible for forming a productive working relationship.


The Process

You will apply via an online tool where you will also select your preferred IO. If you application is confirmed by your selected IO, you will be granted access to a database from which you will choose a suitable exchange partner with the help of your IO. Subsequently, you will hash out a plan with your exchange partner which will detail your work relationship and what you hope to accomplish. Afterwards you’ll both sign a commitment to quality.


Personal Recommendation

Erasmus programmes are usually well funded and an excellent source for intercultural experiences. Make sure to choose good IOs because their capabilities will play a big role for the quality of your exchange. Participate in evaluation events if they are provided because they are a great help when it comes to reflecting on the progress you have made. As a former EVS participant, I can recommend the Erasmus Programmes. It might sound cheesy but they really do what they promise: they help you grow. Especially if you lack experience in “international waters”, these programmes are a good way of getting your feet wet.

Find the detailed application process and the registration tool here.

Hear about other people’s experiences with the programme here

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