General questions about EYE Programme

What is the European Union definition of micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

The European Commission Communication defines SMEs as follow: “An enterprise is any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form”. “Enterprises qualify as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) if they fulfil the criteria laid down in the Recommendation which are summarized in the table below. In addition to the staff headcount ceiling, an enterprise qualifies as an SME if it meets either the turnover ceiling or the balance sheet ceiling, but not necessarily both.

Enterprise Category Head Count Turnover or Balance sheet total
Medium sized <250 ≤ € 50 Mln ≤ € 43 Mln
Small <50 ≤ € 10 Mln ≤ € 10 Mln
Micro <10 ≤ € 2 Mlm ≤ € 2 Mln


Is there any funding available?

The European Union foresees financial assistance for new entrepreneurs, which contributes to travel costs to and from the country of the stay and covers subsistence costs during the visit. This financial assistance is paid by the new entrepreneur’s intermediary organisation and its amount is subject to an agreement between both counterparts.

The funding is based on payment of monthly lump sums to the entrepreneurs and the monthly maximum amount paid per country of exchange is available here

I have already participated to the Erasmus Mundus or Leonardo / Erasmus+ or other projects funded by the European Union, can I take part in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme?

The objectives of the programmes differ from one programme to another. A former Erasmus student may participate in Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs providing his exchange with the Erasmus for Students programme has ended.

Is there a minimum requirement in terms of age to participate in the programme?

No, there are no age specifications to participate in the programme. However, other eligibility requirements for new and host entrepreneurs – for example, educational background, business experience, firm business start-up plan- make it very difficult for individuals below the age of 18 to participate in the programme.

General questions about registration

Which is my permanent residence?

Permanent residence’ is defined as:

  • The place where the company of the applicant is registered, if the applicant has a registered company;
  • If a company has several establishments in different EU Member States or other participating countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey, Albania, Serbia or Israel) the entrepreneur should choose one of the countries as permanent residence;
  • The place where the applicant has spent 183 days or more in the course of the last 12 months, if the applicant does not have a registered company.

How does the selection procedure work?

The selection procedure is as follows:

  • New and host entrepreneurs complete the online registration form. The entrepreneurs must equally choose an intermediary organisation in their country of residence to submit their application.
  • The intermediary organisations assess the applications according to the programme assessment criteria and either accept the applications or put them on hold if further information is needed. Unsuccessful applications will be refused.
  • Once accepted, entrepreneurs will be able to access the online catalogue to search for a potential business partner, with whom to start an exchange. A User Manual will be available for the accepted entrepreneurs, in order to help them through the matchmaking process.

We recommend entrepreneurs to read the Registration Guides for host and new entrepreneurs and Users’ Guide, which contain all relevant information for the programme.

Is the business plan mandatory to apply or a brief idea of the project is sufficient?

Yes, the business plan is mandatory to participate in the programme as it is an essential part of the application that intermediary organisations evaluate when accepting new entrepreneurs. The business plan does not need to be extensive but needs to contain relevant documents to demonstrate that the new entrepreneur has invested significant efforts to set up his/her company.

What is a business plan and where can I find a template?

A business plan is a document that summarises the operational and financial objectives of one’s business, with detailed schemes and budgets to achieve the business start-up.

The Support Office does not provide a business plan template. New entrepreneurs can choose the format they like and if they encounter any difficulty, they can contact their intermediary organisation for a more information and advice.

The business plan should at least contain:

  • A description of the product or services on offer;
  • A market analysis including a definition of the target market and a competitor analysis;
  • A financial plan for at least 3 years (foreseen financial plan) including a break-even analysis.

We encourage NEs to write a business plan of about 15-20 pages.

Eligibility of NEs

Can I start an exchange with a host company working in a different sector than mine?

The business sector is an important criterion for finding a suitable business partner with whom to start an exchange. You may choose up to four different sectors for the exchange, but it is recommended you choose a host company from the same sector, as you will learn more concrete skills for your business start-up.

Can I go abroad for 6 months?

Only NEs coming from the overseas territories or NEs with disabilities can go abroad for a period of 6 months. A period abroad for periods of 5 months is reserved for entrepreneurs going abroad towards an Eastern European Country. Besides, the duration of the exchange needs to be agreed with the HE and the intermediary organisation. The duration of the exchange needs to be also justified by the activity plan the two entrepreneurs present.

Who grants financial support to new entrepreneurs?

The details of the financial support are subject to an agreement between the new entrepreneur and his/her intermediary organisation and reflect the overall living costs of the country of the stay. Grant agreements awarded by payment of monthly lump sums to the entrepreneurs.

A lump sum is defined as a global amount deemed to cover all necessary expencss, such as travel, accommodation and subsistence. This amount is paid without any further justification of costs incurred.

The new entrepreneur needs to find additional funds for his/her stay abroad?

Financial support to new entrepreneurs contributes to travel costs to and from the country of the stay and covers subsistence costs (in particular in terms of accommodation) during the visit.

Under no circumstances will the European Commission accept an amount higher than the set ceilings per country for average monthly financial assistance paid to new entrepreneurs. In the event where the financial grant is not enough to cover all expenses, the new entrepreneur must find other sources to cover such expenses.

The monthly amount is given for a full month of exchange. If the NE interrupts the stay, the days off will not be taken into account and will not be paid.

Can an independent professional (for instance an architect or a lawyer) apply to this programme?

Yes, according to the European Union definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise, self-employed professionals are considered entrepreneurs. Independent professionals can participate in the programme as new entrepreneurs, provided that the

following eligible criteria are met:

  • The entrepreneur has either set up his own business in the last three years or is firmly planning to set up his own business in the coming months in the one of participating country;
  • The entrepreneur must have a viable business plan and a sound educational and vocational background

Can I participate in the programme if my business exceeds 3 years of existence during my stay abroad?

Yes, entrepreneurs may apply as new entrepreneurs providing their business is younger than three years when registering for the programme.

Can I participate in the programme if I run a franchise?

Following the European Union definition of small and medium-sized enterprise, entrepreneurs running a franchise can participate in the programme. However, an exchange between two franchisors of the same company is strictly forbidden.

How many years of experience must I have to be a Host Entrepreneur?

A host entrepreneur is a successful and experienced entrepreneur, with a minimum of three years experience in his/her own business.

Can an independent professional (for instance an architect or a lawyer) apply to this programme?

Yes, according to the European Union definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise, self-employed professionals are considered entrepreneurs. Independent professionals can participate in the programme as host entrepreneurs, provided that the following eligible criteria are met:

Have more than 3 years experience;

  • Run a business in one of the 27 European Member States or in any participating country;
  • Ensure that the new entrepreneur will learn from the exchange and leave with invaluable skills and aptitudes to guarantee a successful business start-up

Can I participate in the programme if I run an incubator?

Yes, entrepreneurs running incubators may participate in the programme as host entrepreneurs providing they meet the eligibility requirements set by the programme for host entrepreneurs

This programme is funded by the European Commission.