Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border programme facilitating the exchange of entrepreneurial and management experience. The exchange is implemented by a stay of a newly established or potential entrepreneur with a well-experienced entrepreneur running a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) in another country.

The European Commission started the programme in 2009 and wants to reach 10,000 exchanges by the end of 2020. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is implemented by local contact points, selected through annual calls for proposals.

Main benefits of the programme

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs aims to boost Europe's entrepreneurial culture. The programme

  • reinforces entrepreneurial attitudes by offering skills, knowledge and experience
  • increases the number of start-ups and boosts their resilience
  • fosters the cross-border transfer of ideas, knowledge and cooperation between small firms
  • helps small firms to network, innovate, and go international
  • helps to create jobs

Benefits for participating entrepreneurs

New entrepreneurs

  • build their capacity to manage a small company
  • gain relevant skills and knowledge
  • get practical experience
  • network

Hosting entrepreneurs

  • make use of fresh entrepreneurial attitude
  • obtain knowledge about another market and culture
  • gain international cooperation opportunities
  • get new ideas and fresh perspectives

Who is eligible for the programme?

  • new entrepreneurs – would-be entrepreneurs with a credible business plan, or people who have already started their business within the last three years
  • no age limit – all ages can participate
  • no topic restrictions - any industry or sector can take part

How to take part

New and experienced entrepreneurs who want to take part in the entrepreneurs’ exchange programme may apply via the programme website and choose their preferred local contact point in their respective countries of residence. Your application should include a CV, motivation letter and, in if you’re a new entrepreneur, a business plan. Once accepted, you can search the programme database for an entrepreneur to be matched with. We recommended that you read the registration guide carefully to have all required information at hand before starting the registration process.

The role of the Commission

The stay of new entrepreneurs is partially funded by the European Union. By 2020, funding under the COSME programme will have supported a total of 10,000 new entrepreneurs.

EYE Global project

Given the success of the programme, the European Parliament proposed a pilot project in 2017 to test a geographical extension of the programme to countries outside Europe. EYE Global started in 2018 with Israel, Singapore, and the US (New York State and Pennsylvania). So far over 50 exchanges have taken place and by the end of the pilot, March 2021, this should be about 120. The pilot project will be followed up by a three-year preparatory action.

Success stories

Calls for proposals