Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Where did the initiative come from?

In light of this fact, the European Union initiated the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme in 2009, which represented an innovative response to the dual challenge of stimulating entrepreneurship and encouraging cross-border trade in Europe. By means of staying with an experienced entrepreneur in another European Member State, would-be entrepreneurs gain competences and perspectives that will prove invaluable during their business start-up phase. At the same time, new entrepreneurs use their fresh entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of their home market and culture as a source of new ideas and as a sounding board for host entrepreneurs.

The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme was developed within the framework of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe which considers this pilot project a key contribution “to creating an environment within which entrepreneurs and family businesses can thrive and entrepreneurship is rewarded”. 

What is Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs?

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a European business exchange programme. It provides practical and financial assistance to newly established or would-be entrepreneurs wishing to spend some time abroad with a host entrepreneur.Thanks to the programme, new or would-be entrepreneurs acquire the relevant skills for managing a small or medium-sized enterprise, and experienced businessmen or women gain fresh perspectives and international cooperation opportunities. The programme aims at the exchange of knowledge and experience, better networking possibilities across Europe and new commercial relations for European businesses.

What are the programme’s objectives?

  • Facilitating business exchanges between new and experienced entrepreneurs;
  • Up to six months on-the-job-training enabling a successful business start-up;
  • Exchanging experience and knowledge about obstacles and challenges when starting and developing businesses;
  • Enhancing market access and identifying potential partners for new and established businesses in other European countries;
  • Networking by building on knowledge and experience from other European countries.

Who can participate?

Eligible entrepreneurs are those in the early stages of their business start-up (new entrepreneurs) and experienced owners or managers of a micro or small enterprise (host entrepreneurs). 

The term “new entrepreneur” includes both nascent entrepreneurs, who are firmly planning to start their own company in the coming months, or those who have already set up their own business in the last three years. Whether planned or already existing, the business can be in any sector. New entrepreneurs must demonstrate a sound educational and vocational background and a viable business idea. They must be a permanent resident in one of programme participating countries and should be able and willing to raise additional funds to cover the costs of the stay that exceed the EU’s grant.

Host entrepreneurs are experienced businessmen or women (i.e. more than three years of activity), ideally owners of a micro or small enterprise (SME) in the European Union or persons directly involved in entrepreneurship at SME board level, abiding by the EU definition of micro, small or medium-sized enterprise. They must be willing to cooperate with the new entrepreneur towards developing his/her entrepreneurial skills and know-how.

Which countries can participate? 

The programme is accessible to all European new and host entrepreneurs who have their permanent residence in one of 28 European Member States, Armenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Moldova, Turkey, Albania, Serbia.  

What are the benefits for new entrepreneurs?

 Potential benefits for new entrepreneurs include the opportunity to:

  • Stay up to six months with a successful and experienced entrepreneur in another European country to gain relevant business start-up knowledge in a wide range of areas such as marketing, financial accounting, customer relations, business finance;
  • Improve the entrepreneurial experience and chances of success during the business start-up phase;
  • Refine business ideas/plan;
  • Become members of an international European business network of successful entrepreneurs;
  • Gain knowledge about foreign markets and understand the regulatory framework in another European Union country;
  • Collaborate and develop cross-border business co-operation;
  • Gain insights into different cultural and organisational settings and understand how companies function in the European Union;
  • Improve language skills;
  • Find out about European commercial law and the single European market,  European standardisatio and European support for SMEs;
  • Receive practical and financial assistance such as induction courses before the exchange, logistical and local support during the stay, and a grant covering the travel and subsistence costs during the stay abroad.

What are the benefits for host entrepreneurs?

Potential benefits for host entrepreneurs include the opportunity to: 

  • Work with an energetic and motivated new entrepreneur who will contribute with innovative views, new skills and knowledge to the host entrepreneur’s business;
  • Learn about foreign markets, expand business opportunities and engage in cross-border activities;
  • Interact with businessmen and women from other European countries and become part of a dynamic European business network of successful entrepreneurs;
  • Improve the growth potential of the company by establishing a business partnership with a new entrepreneur from another European country;
  • Benefit from the assistance of professional intermediary organisations, which help you to search for a suitable business partner for the exchange;
  • Option to use of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs labels and certificate attesting your participation in the programme;
  • Increase the visibility and prestige of your business (e.g. via interviews with the media);

Is there any funding available?

The European Union foresees financial assistance for new entrepreneurs, which contributes to travel costs to and from the country of the stay and covers subsistence costs during the visit. This financial assistance is paid by the new entrepreneur’s intermediary organisation and its amount is subject to an agreement between both counterparts.

Further information about the monthly financial assistance is available in the section “Who can participate”.

Who is responsible for the management of the programme?

The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme has been initiated by the European Union and is managed by DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) of the European Commission. As such, the European Commissions bears the overall political and financial responsibility of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme. It raises awareness of the programme, monitors the overall quality of the programme, and evaluates the programme.

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) has been set-up by the European Commission to manage on its behalf several EU programmes. As an executive agency of the European Commission, the Agency manages significant parts of the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme, under which Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is funded. It ensures that actions funded COSME deliver results and provide the Commission with valuable input for its policy tasks. Following the Commission decision to delegate substantial tasks of the programme management under COSME to an executive agency, the EASME took over this responsibility for the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme as from 2014.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs currently operates across 27 European Member States and 8 additional participating countries with the help of more than 200 intermediary organisations. Their activities are coordinated at the European level by a Support Office.

What is the link between the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs and Erasmus Mundus for students?

These two programmes are similar to a certain extent since Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is also a co-operation and mobility programme. The objective of both programmes is to enhance international cooperation capacity. The mobility programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs aims at helping new entrepreneurs from Europe to acquire relevant skills for managing a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) by spending time with a successful experienced entrepreneur in Europe, while Erasmus for students aims at enhancing the quality of European higher education.

What are the most important documents relevant to the programme?

Before registering for the programme, applicants are encouraged to read the Users’ Guide, available in three languages: German, French and English). It contains all the general information about the conditions on how to apply for the programme. Entrepreneurs are equally recommended to read the Registration Guide for host entrepreneurs & new entrepreneurs before starting the registration process, as it specifies the documents to have at hand when applying online. At this stage, it is not possible to save half completed questionnaires.

What is a local contact point?

The European Commission has officially appointed more than 150 intermediary organisations throughout the European Union and the other participating countries who act as local contact point for entrepreneurs. These entities guide entrepreneurs throughout the application process and the exchange to help establish a successful relationship with a suitable entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs from participating countries with no local contact point may choose one located in another country, which is located closest to their country of residence.

How can to act as a local contact point?

Entities willing to act as intermediary organisations in the programme must be officially appointed by EASME (the Executive Agency for SMEs) following yearly calls for proposals usually published around spring (March-April).

The 2016 call for proposal is closed since 5 April but a new call might be published next year around the same period. Interested organisations are thus invited to regularly monitor the EASME website to check if whether the call is published.

May I participate in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme if I have already participated in other projects funded by the European Union, such as Erasmus Mundus for Students or Leonardo?

The objectives of the programmes differ from one programme to another. A former Erasmus student may participate in Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs providing his exchange with the Erasmus for Students programme has ended.

Do all entrepreneurs benefit from the funding?

The programme does not foresee any European funding forhost entrepreneurs. The details of the financial support are subject to an agreement between the new entrepreneur and his/her intermediary organisation and reflect the overall living costs of the country of the stay. For more information, please refer to the section “Who can participate”.


For more information

Please, do not hesitate contacting to your local partner