Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme

The European exchange programme for Entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs helps provide aspiring European entrepreneurs with the skills necessary to start and/or successfully run a small business in Europe. New entrepreneurs gather and exchange knowledge and business ideas with an experienced entrepreneur, with whom they stay and collaborate for a period of 1 to 6 months.

The stay is partly financed by the European Commission.


As a new entrepreneur, you will benefit from on-the-job training in a small or medium-sized enterprise in another Participating Country. This will ease the successful start of your business or strengthen your new enterprise. You can also benefit from access to new markets, international cooperation and potential possibilities for collaboration with business partners abroad.

As a host entrepreneur, you can benefit from fresh ideas from a motivated new entrepreneur on your business. He may have specialised skills or knowledge in an area you do not master, which could also complement yours. Most host entrepreneurs enjoyed the experience so much that they decide to host other new entrepreneurs afterwards.

It is really a win-win collaboration whereby both of you can also discover new European markets or business partners, different ways of doing business.

On the longer-term, you will benefit from wide networking opportunities, and, possibly, decide to continue your collaboration, possibly as long-term business partners (e.g. joint ventures, sub-contracting activities, contractor-supplier relationships, etc).

“Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” is financed by the European Commission and operates across the Participating Countries with the help of the local contact points, competent in business support (e.g. Chambers of Commerce, start-up centres, incubators etc.). Their activities are coordinated at European level by the Support Office of the Programme.

Please read the programme guide (English) for more information on conditions of participation.

Who facilitates the EYE programme?

Since 2009

EASME: Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

IOs: Intermediary organisations have been officially appointed to establish contacts between NEs and HEs. (Universities, Chambers, Start-up Centers, SMEs)

23 consortia – 194 IOs from 39 countries

Who is eligible as a NE (New Entrepreneur)?

1- Either having set up his/her own business in the last three years or being firmly planning to set up his/her own business in the coming months in the one of participating country.

2- Having a viable business plan and a sound educational and vocational background

3- No age limitation. (above 18)

4- Being prepared to contribute to the development of the host entrepreneur’s business and make your skills and competences available;

Who is eligible as a HE (Host Entrepreneur)?

1- Being a permanent resident in one of the Participating Countries and having a registered company  in that country;

2- Being the owner-manager of a small or medium enterprise OR a person directly involved in entrepreneurship at SME board level (not employee);      

3- Running a company as an entrepreneur (not employee) for more than 3 years;

4- Being ready to share knowledge and experience with a new entrepreneur and act as a mentor.

The importance of SMEs

The programme’s aim is improving the entrepreneurial environment between SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy. They represent 99 % of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85 % of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU. The European Commission considers SMEs and entrepreneurship as key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU.

SME: “An enterprise is any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form; enterprises qualify as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) if they fulfill the criteria laid down below.

Enterprise Category Headcount Turnover or Balance sheet total

Medium sized             <250              ≤ € 50 Mln ≤ € 43 Mln

Small                            <50                 ≤ € 10 Mln ≤ € 10 Mln

Micro                            <10                 ≤ € 2 Mlm ≤ € 2 Mln