garagErasmus: Reuniting the Erasmus Generation
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!