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Young Entrepreneurs [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for young Entrepreneurs.

Have you always wanted to be your own boss? You are not alone: around 44 % of young Europeans would like to set up their own business. Reality paints a different picture however: in 2011, only 4 % of 15-24 year-olds were self-employed. A lack of skills and funding are what usually get in the way.

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The EU promotes young entrepreneurs in many ways. In 2009, the EU launched ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’. The idea is that new entrepreneurs learn from experienced entrepreneurs in another EU country. They gain the valuable skills they need to start their own business, while the EU offers financial and practical support. In the first five years of the programme, 2 500 exchanges took place involving 5 000 new and experienced entrepreneurs.

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Another source of financial support for the would-be self-employed is the European Social Fund (ESF). For several years now, the ESF has been opening up learning and training opportunities and helping young business starters gain valuable skills and experience. One success story is the COPIE project – a network with partner organisations in five countries that works to make it easier for people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to set up in business. Meanwhile, as many aspiring entrepreneurs face financial difficulties in the start-up phase, the European Progress Microfinance facility can help improve access to microcredits.

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