Tomi Tuovinen and Riikka Pellinen are based in Development Services at the University of Eastern Finland. They share details of their involvement in the Inno4YUFE and the ways they hope the project will have a long-term impact on student entrepreneurship and innovation.

Our involvement in the Inno4YUFE project

Working alongside our colleagues at the universities of Antwerp and Cyprus, our focus is to strengthen partnerships with the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities – partnerships that bring together businesses, research centres and universities. We have identified a range of local start-up businesses and facilitated the creation of an innovation network, a community of founders committed to sharing ideas, best practice, and support for one another.

Establishing relationships with local business, and collaborating with other institutions in the YUFE Alliance, has enhanced our understanding of market demands and informed our contribution to the development of Inno4YUFE training programmes. These links also present potential opportunities for Inno4YUFE participants to connect, learn and collaborate with industry experts, enhancing the support for their own start-up businesses and strengthening their future career outlook.

Working in collaboration

This is the first time our institution has been involved in a project such as YUFE or Inno4YUFE, where working in collaboration across borders is essential to achieving the desired outcomes. The process has taught us a huge amount about the way operate and can think bigger to achieve more. It has demonstrated the need to plan and maintain open lines of communication to advance common goals. We continue to learn from and be inspired by one another, which is our aim for all Inno4YUFE participants. 

Benefits for students

By operating solely in your own local ‘bubble’, it’ s possible to become isolated and miss out on connections further afield. Inno4YUFE offers participants the unique opportunities to work collaboratively and engage in international internships, providing access a wider community of stakeholders and the potential to branch out to a wider market.

Looking to the future

For us, at the end of this pilot phase, it’s important to have created a legacy, to ensure the impact of our input into the Inno4YUFE project continues to be experienced by future generations of budding entrepreneurs. We hope to continue to build on the foundations laid down, to expand our offering to students at our institution and encourage continued collaboration among student communities across Europe.