Global companies challenged students to invent

Young Europeans’ skills in global economics were brought to trial at the history’s first GEP Europe Challenge, held in Paris on March 21-22.

The everyday challenges of international economics and practical business skills are perhaps not best learned from books. This was proven by 60 students from all over Europe, who had gathered in Paris to present their views and ideas at a unique multicultural innovation competition.

Our partner companies provided the perspective of global businesses. They devised the challenge given to the students and acted as advisors during the competition. All in all eighteen European major companies participated in the event, Finland being represented by Nokia and Kone.

“Our mission was challenging!”

Tuulia Mattila, Saara Pullinen and Lari Sorvari from Hyvivkään Sveitsin lukio high school took on the challenge. Accompanying them to Paris was also their teacher Hannele Sandberg. The team was primed before the competition at a globalization lecture organized by Kone.

The GEP Challenge this year was to create a resource efficient product or service that helps to enhance the quality of life in European metropolises and in developing countries.

According to the students the mission was at the very least challenging, but the international teams worked well together.

“GEP Challenge taught us how to build networks and work together with the representatives from other countries. This experience will definitely prove useful in the future,” said merry Saara, whose team placed third in the competition.

Will your school be there next year?

GEP European Challenge innovation competition is part of the three-year Global Enterprise Project, started at the turn of the year and aimed to students aged 15 to 18. GEP’s goal is to increase students’ knowledge and skills in international business, entrepreneurship and global economics.

In addition to the annual innovation competition, the project gives students a chance to learn skills for future working life with partners from the business world.

Nokia and Kone, the project’s Finnish partners, will continue working with students even after the competition. During spring volunteers from the companies will give several lectures on globalization. In autumn the volunteers will work as advisors for the JA-YE Company Programme and mentors for the 24h Camp programme.

Is your school already affiliated with JA-YE Finland? Check out our JA-YE curricula.

More information on the GEP is available at

Partners of the Global Enterprise Project are JA-YE Finland’s roof organization Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe and European Schoolnet, and European Round Table of Industrialists.