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Connecting entrepreneurs across borders: the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum 2023

Connecting entrepreneurs across borders:
the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum 2023

To build a business in the trinational region, entrepreneurs need a good overview of resources and helpful partners. The Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum encourages them to dip their toes into international markets and fosters cross-border relationships. 

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Over the past three years, the Trinational Entrepreneurship initiative has forged a path of collaboration and innovation, culminating in the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum 2023. This journey, led by Basel Area Business & Innovation, FWTM Freiburg and SEMIA Mulhouse/Strasbourg, connected entrepreneurs in the trinational region. The goal: making startups grow by building an encouraging community that shares knowledge and supports each other.

Insights from the Forum participants

More than 50 participants attended the event at the Lokhalle in Freiburg im Breisgau on 13 November 2023. Encouraging entrepreneurship culture across regions and borders through close collaboration was a big success.


Insights from organizers

Maurus Basler, Manager Entrepreneurship at Basel Area Innovation & Business, emphasized the importance of being connected with neighboring regions like Germany and France, enabling startups to interact and collaborate across borders.

His key insights: It’s important to build networks and relationships so that cross-border interactions happen naturally. Further, when startups ask for support, they need specific and timely support.

We want to provide a platform where people get to know each other, build natural relationships that ultimately help their startups to grow across borders and find a great ecosystem to build their ventures.

Maurus BaslerManager Entrepreneurship, Basel Area Business & Innovation

Insights from participants

Contacting the right person in Switzerland or France or Germany is crucial for startups, Nikolai Sexauer, Network Manager Innovation & Startups FWTM, observed. “It’s very important for startups and entrepreneurs to have access: access to financing, to new markets and to new customers. This event is all about creating the network, creating trust, creating knowledge so that we can provide this access that the startup founders need.”

Key takeaways for Warren Michel, Startup Manager at SEMIA, included the importance of taking action and the significance of being open and connecting across borders with a wide range of people in the ecosystem. “The proximity between Switzerland, Germany and France creates an ideal international environment for startups to dip their toes into entrepreneurial waters,” he said.

Briefly, the common aim is to overcome geographical and entrepreneurial borders by bringing startups together.

Maurus Basler
Basel Area Business & Innovation

Nikolai Sexauer

Warren Michel

During these panel interviews, industry experts Mark Leinemann, Founder and President at crowdfoods, Matthieu Ebert, Director Product and Technology PULS Wireless (previously Wiferion), and Dirk Winkler, Trade Developer and Investment Advisor at Invest Eastern France provided valuable insights. Mark emphasized the challenges of navigating food regulations at the Swiss-EU borders, while Matthieu underscored the importance of having local representatives in new countries in driving sales. Speaking the local language and being embedded in the local ecosystem are pivotal to success in new markets. Dirk viewed the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum as not only a means to encourage collaboration and talk about it, but to experience it and cultivate it in practice.

Finally, Elijah Appius, Manager Digital Innovation at the Canton of Basel-City, said that the forum demonstrated the collaborative efforts of Switzerland, Germany and France, opening cross-border opportunities and sending a strong sign to the rest of Europe about the power of collaboration.

Mark Leinemann

Matthieu Ebert
PULS Wireless

Elijah Appius
Canton of Basel-Stadt

As the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum 2023 concluded, the resounding message was clear: community is essential for startup success. All efforts point towards a future where entrepreneurs in the trinational region can thrive through shared knowledge and exchange – not only on a local scale, but on an international level. The purpose of the Trinational Entrepreneurship Forum is to serve as an important stepping stone for cross-border entrepreneurial talent.

The power of creating trinational connections

One standout feature of the Trinational Entrepreneurship initiative are the trinational networking events, the trinational helpdesk and the trinational-friendly stamp, all pivotal in creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurial success. The helpdesk, a digital hub serving as a central point of contact for the three startup ecosystems, provides information on upcoming trinational-friendly events, reports and videos from past activities.

In the meantime, the stamp promotes trinational-friendly local events in the border regions. Entrepreneurs from all three regions are encouraged to attend such “stamped” events and to benefit significantly from knowledge exchange.

Last year’s trinational networking event was held in Mulhouse and exemplified the initiative’s commitment to fostering personal connections and addressing trinational startup challenges. With over 50 participants from Basel, Alsace and Südbaden, the event successfully facilitated meaningful connections among startup support organizations.


Immerse yourself in the atmosphere with numerous inspirational individuals from innovative startups and their supporters in the video below.

Do you have a question regarding regional and trinational entrepreneurship?
Maurus will gladly assist you.

Maurus Basler

Manager Entrepreneurship

Email Maurus

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