John Anderson CBE: Sign up for exchange programme

Summer marks the end of one chapter and the start of a new one for students finishing university and college courses and getting set to embark on their new careers

According to research, more of these students are more likely to go into self-employment than ever before. A report compiled by national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain during its tour of Britain’s universities and further education colleges last year, found that 63% of the young people interviewed wanted to start their own business.

Here at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) we know how important it is to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs but also to ensure that existing businesses continue to grow, so when the opportunity came to join the European Commission’s Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme we jumped at the chance.

A business exchange programme, it is designed to transcend borders by offering young, aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain vital experience by partnering them with small to medium-sized firms for a period of one to six months in one of the participating European countries.

Designed to be mutually beneficial; the entrepreneur gains relevant management experience and the opportunity to build up a network of contacts, and the business benefits from fresh ideas, complimentary skills and can learn about new markets and possible business opportunities.

Breaking down barriers and crossing borders may seem daunting, however it is important for both budding and experienced entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons and projects like Erasmus can help. The BIC’s specialist advisers will help guide applicants thought the process.

Tomorrow the BIC is hosting a breakfast seminar to introduce the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme to potential participants. So far there are just under 200 entrepreneurs working alongside businesses in another country, and I hope that by highlighting the benefits to more people we can drive organisations forward by encouraging new start-ups and helping businesses within the EU to develop internationally.

To attend the seminar at the North East BIC, Sunderland, tel: 0191 516 6073 or email

:: John Anderson CBE is chairman of North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) Ltd


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