The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme (EYE) is an EU funded cross-border exchange programme that allows both new and experienced entrepreneurs to team-up, innovate and explore new markets.
The scheme has already fostered more than 6,000 business relationships over the last five years with the aim of reaching 10,000 by 2020.
Business Planet spoke to Massimo Avantaggiato who helps to coordinate the EYE programme in Italy's south eastern Puglia region.
What is Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs?
"It's a European programme related to exchange between entrepreneurs, in particular new or aspiring entrepreneurs from one side, and on the other, experienced entrepreneurs - through this programme they have opportunity to exchange experience."
What are the main benefits for the participants?
"First of all, we can talk about the cultural benefits, because you have the opportunity to exchange experience with people coming from other countries from other economic systems. From a technical point of view, new entrepreneurs, or aspiring entrepreneurs, they have the opportunity to learn on the job, to learn in practice from an experienced entrepreneur. The experienced entrepreneur, on their side, they have the opportunity to stay in touch with the fresh motivated new entrepreneur."
What's the satisfaction level? What kind of response have you had from the people who participate in the programme?
"At a European level, national level and local level, here in Puglia, we really register, as you can check on the website, we really register high motivation and satisfaction. The programme gives the opportunity to open new markets, to create a new relationship and to get a new experience.
Who is eligible to take part in this programme ?
"We are talking about two main figures. New or aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced entrepreneurs from the other side. There is no age limit. There is no sector limit. The programme is directed towards SMEs, only SMEs, coming from one of the, still today, 28 member countries of the European Union, but also from, how to say, European territories. That means, for example, Albania, Turkey or Moldova."
If I'm interested in taking part in this programme. How can I find out more?
''There's only one answer - the website. The programme is really a practical programme. It's all managed through the website. You can find first information. Second, practical manual for building your application. And third, all the training activity, for building the relationship, and so on, are all managed through the website."