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EURES provides welcome advice on setting up a business abroad
Strengthening Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) is a key element of the EU’s strategy for climbing out of the economic crisis. And within this context, citizens who are self-employed can play an important role, taking advantage of job mobility opportunities in the EU’s 27 Member States.
For the past decade, Henk Smolders, a EURES Adviser in the Netherlands, has been delivering tailor-made advice to jobseekers and job changers looking to establish themselves in another EU Member State. “I first started providing tips in response to a clear demand from clients who were finding it difficult to get relevant information. The current recession has not lessened people’s interest in bringing their existing skills, or new ideas, into a different marketplace. Indeed, around 20 % of those registered on the EURES portal are looking at self-employment as an option,” explains Henk.
Providing information and guidance at EURES events and fairs, over the telephone and in the employment service offices, Henk specialises in both a one-on-one and group approach. “There are certainly some common trends amongst those considering self-employment,” he points out. These include age – specifically the over-50s struggling to find work in their own country, and young entrepreneurs who may have participated in the Erasmus programme; sector – in particular, tourism, construction, transport and ICT; and what could be termed ‘geography’, where those from recently-acceded countries move west to better compete in a slacking economy.”
Henk’s approach is straightforward. He emphasises the need to prepare a solid business plan before moving abroad, including a description of the product or service to be offered, the target audience, existing competition, a marketing strategy and, of course, a financial plan. “And not just for the business,” he adds. “A personal plan is crucial. If you go abroad intending to retire in your own country, you must think what your pension accrued in another Member State will be worth back there.”
So far, each year, up to 15 individuals or couples that Henk has advised end up moving abroad – and with encouraging outcomes. In fact, this EURES Adviser is clear that offering such a specialised service answers a specific and ongoing need.
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