FORTHEM encourages the entrepreneurial spirit of students in its European University network

23 students from all FORTHEM partner universities engage in networking at the first FORTHEM International Start-up Days in Mainz / Main focus: Starting a business and entrepreneurship

16 September 2022

For the first time, the European University Alliance FORTHEM – Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility – invited its students to participate in a three-day event on the topic of starting a business and entrepreneurship. Students from all the FORTHEM partner universities applied with individual business ideas. Ultimately, 23 students were selected to participate. They have now come together in Mainz – along with national and international business experts and enthusiastic local business founders – to take a deep dive into different topics involved in entrepreneurship and starting a business. In addition, the participating students will have the opportunity to present their start-up ideas to a qualified jury. "Our FORTHEM International Start-up Days are meant to give interested students theoretical as well as very practical insights into the complex topic of starting a business – from developing an idea to creating a business plan and marketing approaches on to legal and key financial issues," emphasized Professor Stefan Müller-Stach, Vice President for Research and Early Career Academics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "We are very happy to welcome entrepreneurially minded students from all over Europe here in Mainz and to be able to share valuable knowledge about business management with a particular focus on the marketing of innovative products and services. And we are grateful for the support of the local and regional start-up scene, which offers our students valuable insights and rounds off the program for our International Start-up Days."

The idea for the FORTHEM International Start-up Days was born in the JGU Startup Center – with the aim to bring entrepreneurially minded FORTHEM students together in person and to give them the opportunity to gather intercultural experiences in the world of entrepreneurship. Anna Rosinus, Professor of Business Administration, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences, developed the agenda for the Start-up Days and accompanies the event. She appreciates the student participants' diverse backgrounds in terms of their training, origins, and personal interests. "The process of planning and preparing for the FORTHEM International Start-up Days, in which many colleagues from European partner universities and founders of innovative start-ups are involved, was a great pleasure. The interactive format of the Start-up Days is a fantastic chance to get the international students excited about thinking and acting like entrepreneurs."


FORTHEM is one of now 44 European University Alliances funded by the EU Commission to create a European Higher Education Area by 2025 with learning, studying, and research easily transcending national borders. In 2019, the FORTHEM Alliance including Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the University of Burgundy in France, Jyväskylä University in Finland, the University of Opole in Poland, the University of Palermo in Italy, the University of Latvia, and the University of València in Spain, was chosen as one of 17 networks in the European Universities Initiative; during the 2021 network meeting in Mainz, the FORTHEM members signed a letter of intent with the University of Agder in Norway and the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu in Romania preparing their subsequent inclusion as full members. The now nine partner universities of the FORTHEM European University Alliance will continue to be funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ program – with nearly EUR 14.4 million being provided for the coming four-year period from 1 November 2022.

The FORTHEM Alliance is a powerful network of nine partner universities. Some of them have been cooperating for many years and even decades already and now invest their knowledge and experience into new forms of collaboration and exchange. The common goal is to strengthen the multilateral European network in its innovative capacity and to promote learning and teaching, research and its application in everyday life.