On December 10th, the Alexander Innovation Zone jointly with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki hosted the first Erasmus Going Entrepreneurial (EGE) conference which focussed on exploring essential aspects of impactful student placements in startups.
After the official welcome by Ms Katerina Kalliaridou (Head of Academic Units and Career Offices at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Liga Kuzmane (EUF, coordinator of the project POWER), a number of sessions followed providing insights into the next Erasmus+ programme and the new opportunities it brings for traineeships abroad as well as into project POWER, its goals, expected results and impact.
Marie Montaldo (EUF, coordinator of the project PhD Hub) shared examples and outlined opportunities that the Erasmus+ programme offers for further internationalisation of PhD studies, while Baiba Savrina and Kristine Berzina from the University of Latvia presented study results about placements, highlighting the main expectations from students and host institutions, as well as ideas to maximize the impact of placement experience.
Core functionalities of the POWER platform and how students, startups and universities will be able to use it were explained by Konrad Miskiewicz (Lodz University of Technology) which was followed by an experience story by Souzana Theodoridou (co-founder and Managing Director at startup company Grekaddict) who shared her inspiring experience in hosting five placements as well as her approach in selecting students and methods to work with the students during the placement period.
Existing practices in university-incubator collaboration and how the growing ecosystem can empower students and startups in practice were presented by two incubator representatives from New Factory (Finland) and Alexander Innovation Zone – OK! Thess (Greece).
During the panel discussion, which was the closing part of the conference, representatives from universities and incubators shared their conclusions and outlined perspectives on how to increase cooperation between academia and industry and strengthen partnerships at transnational level.