From the 20th April, Ireland joins other E.U. countries, such as Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium by offering an Enterprise Exchange Programme for new entrepreneurs. Funded by the E.U. Commission, the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme enables 'new' entrepreneurs in Ireland, who are in the early stages of business development, to be matched with experienced entrepreneurs abroad.
To date, over 530 new entrepreneurs from various European countries have travelled to another European country for up to six months to learn management skills from 'experienced' small business owners, who run established businesses. The same programme, to be launched in Ireland today, will also enable new business start-ups from abroad to travel to host entrepreneurs in Ireland, exchanging skills and market knowledge.
So far, the initiative is running in twenty-three other E.U. countries, including Italy, Spain and Romania. The Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Board is introducing the programme into Ireland for the very first time, with more County and City Enterprise Boards expecting to join as intermediary organisations in the coming year.
The Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D. is launching the recruitment drive for the Enterprise Exchange Programme today at the European Parliament Information Office on Molesworth Street. Speaking just ahead of the launch, Minister Perry said: "It is a logical step to point our growth oriented entrepreneurs towards the Internal Market of the European Union."
"The Government's priority is to ensure that the business environment continues to be supportive of enterprise, encourages economic activity at local level and promotes export growth by start-up and expanding enterprises to create jobs in this economy," the Minister added.
Welcoming the initiative, the C.E.O. of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, Michael Johnson said: "By participating in this European-wide programme, new business start-ups increase their chances of survival in the early years, gaining experience, skills and know-how from more experienced business people, who have successfully come through the start-up phase."
There is an initial target of ten exchanges involving new entrepreneurs in Ireland and ten exchanges involving Irish-based host entrepreneurs over the coming year. 'New' entrepreneurs can be aged between 18 and 65 and applications are now being sought from early stage entrepreneurs who have been in business for less than three years and from host entrepreneurs, who run more established businesses.
For qualifying early stage entrepreneurs, the costs of overseas travel and accommodation abroad are to be subsidised for up to six months. Information for Irish-based new entrepreneurs who wish to be matched with host entrepreneurs abroad is available at www.dlrceb.ie/eye.