Riga, Latvia – March 15th: 450 secondary school students from across Europe used their entrepreneurship skills to compete for customers at the JA-YE Europe Trade Fair.
The Riga Plaza Trading Centre in Riga hosted this one of a kind display of student ingenuity, creativity, entrepreneurship, celebrating ecology and technology. Most of the products offered by student companies in the Trade Fair combined both.
Students took just a few hours to turn the main terminal into an international marketplace. They came from 26 countries representing a total of 40 student companies. Products ranged from services such as pharmaceutical applications to products such as ecological coolers. The student companies were evaluated by a jury made up of business volunteers including Board Members of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Director of Riga Plaza and Riga City Council.
Best Overall Company
Big Bang Enterprise was nominated Best Overall Company. With their product, Virtual Bag, four students from Portugal aim to make education more efficient through a platform that will render the traditional school bag obsolete. This will mean that all the content of a school bag such as textbooks, notebooks, pencil cases, calculators, homework diaries and timetables, will be accessible through a simple platform and a click of a button.
“Winning the Best Overall Company Award and the Enterprise without Borders Collaboration Award was an unmatched experience. The Enterprise without Borders was an opportunity for us to gain experience, to gain a more concrete notion of what are the other entrepreneurs do all around the world and being here at the Trade Fair was a unique experience i will never forget,” said Gonçalo Lopes CEO of Big Bang Enterprise.
Unleashing youth’s entrepreneurial potential
“From primary school all the way to university, we aim to switch young people “on” to the world around them. Re-booting young people’s entrepreneurial potential has to start early. Europe’s education systems need an infusion of entrepreneurial learning tools and methods like thisif we are going to climb out of this crisis,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO JA-YE Europe.
The JA-YE Europe Trade Fair is an annual event linked with the JA-YE Company Programme. Recognised by the European Commission as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’, the programme teaches students how to take a business idea from concept to reality. They form their own real enterprises and discover first-hand how a company functions. They elect a board of directors from amongst their peers, raise share capital, and market and finance a product or service of their choice. Throughout the programme they are mentored by business volunteers.
Through learning-by-doing, students develop new skills such as teamwork, leadership, presenting, planning and financial control as they learn to take responsibility for the success of their company. At the core of the programme is the awakening of young entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen under the mentorship of business leaders in their communities.
Alumni of this programme are 4-5 times more likely to start a business later on than their peers. Their start-ups have a better survival rate too. For those that enter the workforce they are on average more employable, earn higher incomes and are more satisfied in their careers.
Riga City Council Innovative Product Award
Solar Sound –JC (Austria) Innovative solar chargers for mobile phones with integrated speakers.
Coca-Cola Social Responsibility Business Award
ET.E.K. (Greece) Smartphones application for home medicine supplies, notifies the consumer of the forthcoming expiration, builds a network of collection points (mainly NGO’s).
Riga Plaza Best Marketing Award
3R Light & Shine (Botswana) Environment friendly, energy saving lamps.
Enterprise without Borders Collaboration Award
Big Bang Enterprise (Portugal)
FERD Social Entrepreneurship Award
Social Entrepreneur: Andrew Mupuya (Uganda)
Company: Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments
Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), manufactures environmental friendly paper bags and envelopes to replace use of polythene plastic bags that are non-bio degradable taking 15 to 1000 years to break down compared to paper bags that decompose.
Skills for the Future Hyundai Award
NET JA (Italy) for their product HELIOS, a safety electronic device for cars. HELIOS contributes to avoid sleep-related accidents and it obliges to a correct driving style in compliance with the Highway Code. HELIOS is controlled by a micro-controller of a new generation and it is activated by some sensors placed on the steering wheel. A 9V rechargeable battery powers the device. It can be rechargeable by connecting the included cable to the cigarette lighter socket. The product is made of ABS, a non-toxic, non-magnetic material.
Facts & figures
40 Student companies
3 continents: Europe, Africa and Asia
197 Participants of student companies
17 Business Delegates
27 countries (Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, Latvia, Spain, Turkey, Malta, Israel, Botswana, Albania, Russia)
The farest guests and the biggest delegation is from Botswana (Africa) with 53 participants.
Sponsors of the event: Riga Plaza Tradins centre, Coca-Cola Hellenic Latvia un Riga City Council. Informative support: draugiem.lv, Tvnet.lv, uzdevumi.lv and radio SPIN FM.
JA-YE Europe (www.ja-ye.org) is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.1 million students in 37 countries in 2012. Funded by businesses, institutions, foundations and individuals, JA-YE brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with experiences that promote the skills, understanding and perspective that they will need to succeed in a global economy. The JA-YE Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’. JA-YE Europe is the European Regional Operating Center for JA Worldwide®