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garagErasmus: Reuniting the Erasmus Generation

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Over 3 million people have taken part in the Erasmus scheme since 1987. garagErasmus hopes to unite them all in a dynamic digital network. The project aims to release the economic potential inherent in this multinational multitalented network. Cafébabel spoke to Francesco Cappè, Executive Chairman of the garagErasmus Foundation for an exclusive glimpse into the future of garagErasmus.

A new breed of Eu­ro­peans?

SMEs and multi­na­tion­als around Eu­rope crave the unique abil­i­ties ac­quired by the Eras­mus Gen­er­a­tion while study­ing abroad: cul­tural aware­ness, mul­ti­lin­gual­ism, adapt­abil­ity, en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and in­no­va­tion. Do they al­ways find them? The an­swer is no, says Francesco, and we are all los­ing out be­cause of this.

At the same time, the Eras­mus Gen­er­a­tion ac­tively seeks op­por­tu­ni­ties across Eu­rope e.g. jobs and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ships and pro­jects; a bor­der­less lifestyle. This gap has been recog­nised by Francesco and his team, who are now try­ing to bridge re­gional needs with Eu­ro­pean po­ten­tial by in­creas­ing the mo­bil­ity of ideas and skills. Eu­rope needs this new breed of Eu­ro­peans and they need Eu­rope.

Eu­rope's La­tent Po­ten­tial

The mis­sion of garagEras­mus Foun­da­tion

garagEras­mus was started by Eras­mus alumni from Italy in­clud­ing Francesco Cappè, in 2011. Since then, they have gath­ered 7500 Eras­mus alumni on the check-in plat­form of garageras­mus.​org, and with the help of the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion, the plat­form is ex­pected to grow by 250, 000 new mem­bers per year from 2015. They hope to reach 1 mil­lion by 2017.

In the mean­time, the garagEras­mus Foun­da­tion launched the Pri­vate and Pub­lic Al­liance in June 2013 and is look­ing for mo­ti­vated and en­tre­pre­neur­ial-minded Eu­ro­peans to start up local Eu­ro­pean Al­liances be­tween pri­vate and pub­lic or­gan­i­sa­tions in dif­fer­ent Eu­ro­pean cities, under the um­brella of the garagEras­mus Foun­da­tion. All Al­liances from around Eu­rope, in co­op­er­a­tion, would help ful­fill the goal of bridg­ing re­gional needs with Eu­ro­pean po­ten­tial through mo­bil­ity. As the on­line pro­fes­sional net­work is grow­ing, op­por­tu­ni­ties would ig­nite both vir­tu­ally and phys­i­cally, through match­ing events or­gan­ised at local level. The first pi­lot-event will take place in Pisa in Sep­tem­ber 2014 (at Pisa In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Ter­mi­nal B).

A Pri­vate-Pub­lic en­gine to trig­ger the en­ergy of a new Eu­rope

Free­dom and mo­bil­ity have al­ways been a pow­er­ful cor­ner­stone for the Eu­ro­pean Sin­gle Mar­ket since its cre­ation. De­spite this free­dom, only 2% of Eu­ro­peans live in a Mem­ber State other than their own. The Eras­mus Gen­er­a­tion offer Eu­rope tremen­dous po­ten­tial for eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and so­cial progress. A net­work of 3 mil­lion may sound like a tall order, but the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits are en­tic­ing.

Mean­while, it is worth men­tion­ing that less than 1% out of the 24 mil­lion stu­dents in Eu­rope in 2010-2011 be­came part of the Eras­mus Gen­er­a­tion. The promi­nent ques­tion to be asked is how can we, the Eras­mus Gen­er­a­tion, mo­bilise and help make the Eras­mus ex­pe­ri­ence ac­ces­si­ble to those other 99% of stu­dents. Imag­ine the po­ten­tial and the fu­ture of Eu­rope if these fig­ures could even­tu­ally be re­versed!