EU launches Erasmus program for social firms in Med

Seed Euromed,UK, France, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco exchanges

20 May, 15:08

    (by Chiara Spegni) (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, MAY 20 - Creating exchanges of experiences between social firms on the two shores of the Mediterranean and neighboring countries in the south is the aim of SEED EUROMED (Social Entrepreneur Exchange and Development in the Euro-Med region), a new European cooperation project.

    The program kicked off in March this year and will last two and a half years. It is co-funded by the European Commission with 227,000 euros over a total budget of 300,000 euros, thanks to the 'Euro-Mediterranean Initiative for Youth Employment Promotion' of EuropeAid. SEED EUROMED will involve Great Britain and France together with Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

    ''The project goes along the same lines as the Erasmus program for young entrepreneurs, with the idea of replicating it with partner countries in the southern Mediterranean, considering specific local situations'', said Luisa De Amicis, who heads a project of one of the participating partner groups, Euclid Network. ''SEED EUROMED has two objectives: promoting knowledge and boosting connections between the two shores, strengthening enterprises and cutting unemployment on one side, as well as trying to reduce obstacles to the minimum in order the create new companies in target countries''.

    The project is open to ''social'' firms, which benefit communities while seeking profit, for instance by improving social integration involving minorities in an economic activity, or by giving work to people who live in a difficult environment.

    ''There are many sectors, from farming, which is experiencing difficulties with the crisis, to technology, energy and the creative, cultural sectors'', explained De Amicis.

    After an initial phase during which the project is publicized through local partners, SEED EUROMED will vie for entrepreneurs to exchange their experiences to create know-how and possibly forge partnerships between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

    ''We have provided for 54 exchanges, therefore over 100 entrepreneurs will be involved'', said Euclid Network's chief.

    ''This way, we are giving participants the opportunity of getting to know each other and working side by side with another entrepreneur with more experience in the same field for a period ranging from one to three months. The final objective is to create new companies starting with the development of a 'business plan' and contacts in a different country, perhaps even finding long-term commercial partners''. (ANSAmed)
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