Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

27 July 2017

Great partnerships and life-changing experiences

It has been 6 months since the Business & IP Centre arranged our first match as part of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur Programme (EYE).   EYE enables new and aspiring entrepreneurs (of any age) in an European country to spend 1-6 months with experienced entrepreneurs in another European country.   We have helped 13 experienced entrepreneurs in the UK to host new entrepreneurs and sent two new entrepreneurs from the UK to other European countries, The countries involved have included Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and Hungary and the hosts have come from sectors as diverse as marketing, training, publishing, IT,  architecture, environmental sustainability and retailing.

One of these exchanges involved Elpida Lambi from Greece and Merilee Karr in London. Elpida is a new entrepreneur who had a business idea in the events planning sector. Merilee is a founder of the highly successful UnderTheDoormat agency.  The exchange lasted 3 months during which Elpida learned from her hosts’ experience and Merilee had the benefit of new ideas, perspectives and all the energy that Elpida brought with her. 

Merilee said   “As an entrepreneur its incredible to be a part of this program and support the growth of cross-European entrepreneurship.   UnderTheDoormat is by nature an international business and Elpida is our second young entrepreneur.  We are so proud of her success and contribution”

Merilee and Elpida
Merilee and Elpida at the agency during their Erasmus exchange


Elpida said: “This program really targets people like me, young Europeans who want to work and make their own businesses but they don't have that opportunity. Joining UnderTheDoormat was the right call. An international company in hospitality where everyone was more than happy to teach me things. They trusted me with projects and important documents since the first day. I am really excited that they valued my work..”

Merilee and Elpida will work together closely in the future which highlights the long-term business relationships which result from so many of these exchanges. This positive experience has been echoed across many more of the exchanges in which we have been involved and it has been fantastic to be involved in something which has had such a positive impact and helped bring entrepreneurs across Europe closer together.

The Business & IP Centre is an Intermediary Organisation the EYE programme until the end of 2018 (maybe beyond) and we are always looking for applications from host entrepreneurs and new entrepreneurs. Hosts have to have been a business founder for at least three years and new entrepreneurs must have had a business for less than 3 years or have a clear idea for a business. Find out more information about the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.