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How Erasmus gives young entrepreneurs a leg-up in business

In partnership with The European Commission
How Erasmus gives young entrepreneurs a leg-up in business
By Serge Rombi
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Discover the European exchange programme for entrepreneurs: unique experiences for young people or future entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs often have difficulty establishing a strong business plan and finding effective technical options.

Well, there is a solution. Business Planet went to Athens to find out about a programme called Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.

Evangelia Solomou, head of unit at the Hellenic Ministry of Economy and Development explains a little more:

"It’s a unique programme that matches new entrepreneurs who want to acquire the skills to start their own small business in Europe, with experienced entrepreneurs," Solomou said.

"To really see the impact of the programme, just think of the huge network of 38 participating countries.”

Michael Kokkinos, the managing director of Moptil, is a concrete example of the benefits of the programme.

His product offers a unique experience! Thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality, tourists are able to discover Greece's most beautiful archaeological sites as they were centuries ago. The technology - already used by 80,000 tourists over the past three years - was developed by Kokkinos, a Greek entrepreneur.

Kokkinis says there are two very important points to remember:

"First of all, all our products have been supervised by very famous archeologists. This means accuracy and precision. The second one is that we don’t use audio and text. And this means no replacement of any guide.”

When he started his business in 2014, Kokkinos took advantage of the Erasmus program. He spent three months in Cartagena in a Spanish SME that specialises in application development. Thanks to this exchange, he was able to optimise his business plan.

"We solved a very big problem that we had with the battery consumption," Kokkinos says.

"This was with optimizing graphics. In the commercial part, we have new markets like planetariums or gaming. And this came from the programme. And at the end of the day also, it was a great life experience.”

Michael is still in touch with the Spanish entrepreneur who welcomed him. This allowed him to win new markets in Cartagena and on the island of Tenerife.

Serge Rombi, Euronews: "This Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, it has a been real success in Greece."

Evangelia Solomou: “Yes. There are almost 300 young entrepreneurs that have already participated like Michael. It’s very promising because our aim is to create a favourable business environment, so that young entrepreneurs can stay and create in Greece ”

Over the past five years, 6,000 exchanges have taken place in Europe, under this programme, which operates whatever the sector of activity, and which continues until at least 2020.

So, who can participate in Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs?

According to Solomu, you must be a would-be or newly-established entrepreneur. There is no age limit. If you fit these criteria you may be able to gain financial assistance from the European Commission.

More about Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs

• Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is an EU cross-border programme facilitating the exchange of entrepreneurial and management experience

• The programme matches a newly-established or potential entrepreneur with a well-experienced entrepreneur running an SME in another country

• The exchange is partially funded by the European Union under the COSME programme

• Over the past five years, more than 6.000 pairs of entrepreneurs have benefitted from the programme

• The plan is to facilitate 10,000 exchanges by 2020

Useful Links

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

EU support to entrepreneurs

COSME programme

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