Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) is a pan-European mobility scheme for entrepreneurs, initiated by the European Commission in 2009. The programme aims to offer opportunities to aspiring or newly established entrepreneurs to go abroad within Europe to develop their entrepreneurial competences in running a small business with an experienced entrepreneur. The duration of the stay varies from one to six months.
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a win-win deal for both new and host entrepreneurs:
- New entrepreneurs benefit from on-the-job training in a host company abroad to develop their entrepreneurial skills, and gain business knowledge and experience on managing a small business from their direct collaboration with the host entrepreneur.
- Host entrepreneurs benefit from innovative ideas from a motivated new entrepreneur. Moreover, this opportunity may also lead to other benefits such as the internationalisation of the business, access to new markets and possibilities for collaboration with new business partners.
The programme is managed through an IT database. All the individual steps in relation to entrepreneurs, applications, matching, calculation of EU financial contribution, feedback from entrepreneurs are done exclusively via this IT tool.
DG Grow, European Commission
Before 2009, several preparatory actions provided the basis for shaping the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme: survey among entrepreneurs (2007), stakeholders´seminar (December 2007) and feasibility study (February 2008). The programme was open for applications on 1st February 2009
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs seeks to reinforce entrepreneurial attitudes and equips individuals with skills and competences invaluable for their future or newly established business.
The programme is celebrating 10 years of existence in 2019. It shows good results with over 14,000 entrepreneurs (new and host) taking part in more than 7,000 exchanges.
In 2018, the European Commission launched a 2-year pilot project for the geographic extension of the programme to countries beyond Europe. Participating EU-nationals can now select three additional destinations (USA, Israel and Singapore) and collaborate with an experienced entrepreneur there for 1-3 months.
The programme has been developed within the framework of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe which considers this programme as a key contribution ‘to create an environment within which entrepreneurs and family businesses can thrive, and entrepreneurship is rewarded’.