Press Release

Press Release | Gütersloh/Berlin, 09/14/2021

Bertelsmann Endows ‘Gründerpreis Experience’ to Mark Reinhard Mohn Centennial

  • Liz Mohn announces special prize worth €50,000 at the German Founders’ Prize gala in Berlin
  • Five-day “Gründerpreis Experience” supports students interested in entrepreneurship

Gütersloh/Berlin, September 14, 2021 – To mark the 100th birthday of its post-war founder Reinhard Mohn, this year Bertelsmann is endowing a special prize worth €50,000 for young founders in the form of an innovative “Gründerpreis Experience.” It will be announced by Liz Mohn at today’s German Founder’s Prize 2021 (Deutscher Gründerpreis 2021) gala in Berlin and will reward the winners of the Founder’s Prize for High-school Students with a sophisticated, five-day start-up event in addition to their prize. Reinhard Mohn himself received the German Founders’ Prize in 2007 for his lifetime achievement. The judges thus honored the entrepreneurial achievements and social commitment of Mohn, who built Bertelsmann from a medium-sized publishing house into a global media group and later founded the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Liz Mohn said: “I am pleased that we are sending a clear message in honor of Reinhard Mohn with the ‘Gründerpreis Experience’ for High-school Students. Education and entrepreneurship were central topics in his life – and are very dear to my heart as well. I believe that we need more young people who think entrepreneurially and dare to innovate. This special prize is intended to contribute to that.”

Bertelsmann itself is a globally active investor in start-ups: The Bertelsmann Investments network of funds currently encompasses about 270 young companies around the world, including 16 “unicorns” with valuations above $1 billion.

The “Gründerpreis Experience” commemorating the Reinhard Mohn Centennial is aimed at the winning teams of this year’s German Founders Prize for High-school Students, which is awarded in addition to the four categories of the German Founder’s Prize. The competition is regarded as Germany’s biggest start-up simulation game and makes business a tangible experience in all types of schools from grade 9 up. Each year, the four partners behind the project - stern, the Sparkassen banks, ZDF, and Porsche - impart entrepreneurial skills to thousands of young people in the online business game, in which the students design a business plan for their own business idea based on nine tasks.

The winning teams will participate in a five-day hackathon in Berlin and the Uckermark region from September 23 to 27, 2021, and work on the challenges of real-world impact start-ups. The experience they gain is meant to encourage them to eventually found their own impact start-ups and strengthen the start-up culture in Germany. The results will be presented to the public in a start-up pitch at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin.

The special prize for young founders is part of Bertelsmann’s anniversary program to mark the Reinhard Mohn Centennial. Key components have already included the publication of a new book (“Reinhard Mohn - Entrepreneur, Leader, Visionary” by Joachim Scholtyseck), the provision of exhibits and support for an exhibition project by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and a “virtual memorial” for Reinhard Mohn at the international media, services, and education company’s Gütersloh headquarters.

Reinhard Mohn was born in Gütersloh on June 29, 1921; he represents the fifth generation of the Bertelsmann/Mohn owning families. After returning from captivity as a POW in the U.S., he took over the business of the medium-sized printing and publishing company C. Bertelsmann from his father Heinrich Mohn in 1947. In the decades that followed, he laid the foundation for Bertelsmann’s rise to become a global corporation with more than 130,000 employees in 50 countries. Reinhard Mohn died on October 3, 2009, at the age of 88, but continues to shape Bertelsmann’s corporate values, management philosophy, and entrepreneurial activities to this day.

More information about Reinhard Mohn: 

More information about the German Founder’s Prize for High-school Students: 

The presentation of the German Founder’s Prize 2021 will be broadcast via livestream starting at 8 p.m. on September 14, 2021: 

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has around 130,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.3 billion in the 2020 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. In 2021, Bertelsmann commemorates the 100th birthday of Reinhard Mohn, the Group's late post-war founder and longtime Chairman and CEO.