The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) programme has helped launch the careers of more than 10.000 entrepreneurs by providing a unique cross-border exchange between new and experienced entrepreneurs. Now more than ever, such collaborations are needed to develop new innovations that could change the world and the nature of business for the better.
EYE Programme is Stronger Than Ever
Uncertainty does not mean cancelled. Quite the contrary! The EYE programme and its advocates continue to attract aspiring entrepreneurs and talented host entrepreneurs to their ranks. This was evident last week when a consortium of partners, led by Euclid Network (EN), hosted a one-hour webinar with more than 40 registered participants for the event.
Aspire to Inspire as an Entrepreneur Webinar
After introductions, Christian Vietz of EN began the webinar with a brief overview of the programme and how the application process works, also referred to as the EYE journey. He placed great emphasis on the importance of the relationship development stage of the EYE journey and how to build one that works for both parties. Next, an EYE alum and host entrepreneur, Samuel Kalika of Critical Concrete, took centre stage. Samuel shared with participants not only his own EYE story but also what he looks for when choosing new entrepreneurs to host. He looks for those new entrepreneurs who hold the same values as he and his business.
The webinar then split into three different breakout rooms, each dedicated to a different aspect of the EYE journey and hosted by three consortium partners:
Breakout Room 1: How to write a Business Plan with Bcause, ESLIDER, and Groupe SOS Pulse
Consortium members walked participants through the elements of a business plan. The business plan is an opportunity for new entrepreneurs to demonstrate their knowledge and their enthusiasm for their ideas. Far from being a completed document which will eventually be the roadmap for their businesses, it is an ongoing work in progress, as new entrepreneurs will continue to develop it with the support of their host entrepreneurs.
Breakout Room 2: How to find a matching entrepreneur with ACT GRUPA, Heidelberg University Centre for Social Investment, and University of Thessaly
In this session, EYE alumni Karla and Maja and host entrepreneur, Samuel, shared their experiences of how they chose their exchange partners. They also many answered questions from the breakout room’s enthusiastic participants. The intermediary organisations leading the session also shared some of their tips and experiences gathered from their side of the EYE journey.
Breakout Room 3: What are the prospects after the exchange with AKEP, SYNTHESIS, and Cámara de Cantabria
Two award-winning entrepreneurs and alumni of the EYE programme were on hand to tell participants what happens after the exchange concludes. Michalis Kokkinos of Moptil Ltd voted one of three Best New Entrepreneurs of Europe in 2016; and Yiannis Polychronakis, Best New Entrepreneur of 2019, recounted how their experiences during the programme shaped their journeys afterward. Working with their hosts, they brought a more complete product to the market and identified previously unexplored markets. They also used their connections and relationships they’d cultivated to open doors and find partners.
The Time is Now
As the global economy rebounds, the question we need to answer is: What do we want it to look like? There can be no going back to “business as usual” and an economic system that benefits too few people. We believe that now is the time for governments to place the social and solidarity economy at the heart of their economic recovery policies. Initiatives like the EYE programme are essential to making that a reality. It advances and nurtures social entrepreneurs and their businesses so that they can become the new norm and lead the new economy for the benefit of all.
Thank You to Our Partners
Thank you to all the webinar participants as well as our consortium partners for their hard work: Academy of Social Entrepreneurship, ACT GRUPA, B-Cause, Cámara de Cantabria, ESLIDER, GROUPE SOS Pulse, Heidelberg University Centre for Social Investment, SYNTHESIS Center Research and Education, and University of Thessaly.
Call to Action
If you would like to find out more about how to get involved in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme contact the Euclid team for more information.