01 Junho 2022
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is an exchange program which gives opportunity to learn during several months from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in different countries all over Europe and even more. Participating Countries include 27 EU Member States, UK and the COSME countries: North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey, Albania, Serbia, Moldova, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Armenia, Ukraine and Kosovo*, as well as entrepreneurs from the outermost regions and overseas countries and territories (OCTs). New entrepreneurs use this program for professional business development, and experienced entrepreneurs use it as a tool for sharing their own business experience.
You can participate in this program if you:
Are 18 years old and above ;
Would like to start your own business (it doesn't matter in which industry);
Have a business idea and want to know how a similar business works abroad;
Have up to three years of business experience;
Your English is enough for comfortable communication;
You are motivated to cooperate, and ready to contribute to the development of the host entrepreneur's business, as well as to improve your skills and competencies.
Participation in the program provides an opportunity to explore the activities of a more experienced entrepreneur (mentor) and to gain practical experience. The exchange takes place at a time and term convenient for you and the host entrepreneur, usually for three to four months (maximum six months), and according to a schedule developed by both parties. During the exchange, as a young entrepreneur, you receive monthly financial support (the stay is partly financed by the European Commission) depending on the country of residence (from €530 to €1,100) and compensation for travel expenses to and from the country where the company is located. Besides, you always have the opportunity to make changes to the agreement: to change the terms of the exchange, to increase or decrease its duration, divide it into several parts in online/offline format, etc.
Applications should be submitted through the digital platform. It includes a business plan drawn up in any format, a CV, and answers to questions like “why participation in the exchange is important to you” and “how staying abroad should help you grow your business”. In general, you can complete your application in two or three days. You are the boss in filling out this application. It is you who is responsible for your business plan, you choose the entrepreneur you would like to work with, and you are the person who sets the goals of the exchange. After you choose the local program coordinator and search for a host entrepreneur through the portal system of the program, you negotiate a start date, a duration and the aim of the exchange. Then you buy tickets and finally say “hi” to your new entrepreneur's experience.
If you are an experienced entrepreneur, you can also participate in the program. If you have successful and experienced entrepreneurs or individuals directly involved in entrepreneurship at an SME level with more than 3 years, and you want to share your own entrepreneurial experience, you register on this online platform . When you receive a request from a young entrepreneur and he/she fits your priorities, you become committed to work with the NE towards developing his/her entrepreneurial skills and know-how.
Lyudmila Nikitina is a young entrepreneur from Ukraine and will share her own experience of participation in this program to help you understand how it works on practice.
but I didn't use it because at that time I already chose the organization for exchange and it was Geoclube. It is a youth organization founded in 2000 by a group of teachers and students from the High School of Gondomar. The organisation's team develops the potential of young people and encourages them to solve environmental problems, work on building a democratic society, and strengthen social integration and youth entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on the youth of the local municipality and implementation of Erasmus+ mobility projects.
My exchange started at 15th of March, and it looked like an evacuation because of the Russian full scale invasion. During my exchange, I wanted to focus on organizing and managing international mobility projects, organizing activities for young people, and improving my communication and fundraising skills.
My work schedule is a typical eight-hour working day. I can choose the time at which I start my working day, and also whether to work in an office with a team, or online. The first month of exchange reminiscent to me the first month at a new job, when you get to know the team, work activities and policy of the company, and in free time explore the city, local cuisine and features of the city, culture, and country.
During the second month of the exchange, I had a clear understanding of what issues of youth work I want to dive into. I have identified my own weaknesses in communication and fundraising skills and now I have the opportunity to improve them, so I can focus on working with these two areas.
15th of May marks the second month of the exchange for me. Each month, I have to report on what goals have been achieved during the exchange. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the Russian invasion, comparing the initial exchange plan and what I am doing in practice, I only have 50% of my productivity and plans achieved. However, even in such circumstances, during the exchange, I managed a lot:
I made friends with the organisation's team, and developed a comfortable work schedule;
I got acquainted with the organisation's strategy, communication channels, content plan on social networks, and how each team member manages work processes;
Together with the team, I conducted 2 trainings for high school students on creative and cultural entrepreneurship and began to edit videos for social networks;
I carried out research on how the organization builds its communication with young people and now I am working on a proposal for improving communications;
I participated in the development of an application for the Erasmus+ youth mobility project and had the opportunity to participate in a Training Course about Solidarity projects;
I planned a series of Instagram lives to attract a new target audience.”
Participating in this program is a challenge, but at the same time it is a great opportunity to improve your skills and competencies. Therefore, I would like to encourage young people, students and entrepreneurs to use all the opportunities the world gives us for professional and personal development. Your countries will need your professionalism, knowledge, and skills when you're back home.”