After garnering success in last year’s JA Start Up program and becoming a real company, JULJA has stirred up international attention.
JULJA’s own women’s fashion brand won the Hyundai Brilliant Young Entrepreneur award in last year’s Finnish JA-YE Final’s. The award’s 15,000 euro grant has been used to develop JULJA’s business activities.
Now Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe, the umbrella organization including also JA Finland, has chosen JULJA to appear in a microdocument exhibiting JA companies’ success stories and acting as a source of inspiration to youths dreaming of entrepreneurship.
“We chose JULJA among the applicants because they had an immediate result from winning the grant which was to enter a summer school and get access to an incubator. Also,they are running the business and entering new markets,” says JA-YE Europe’s Director of Development Livia di Nardo.
Premiering in April, in addition to JULJA to document will feature JA companies Talentdepo from Belgium and Speekle from Slovakia. Both companies won the Brilliant Young Entrepreneur award in their home country.
“The main goal is to show how an entrepreneurial experience in education such as the Start Up Programme has change the mind-set of these students and how funding and mentoring provided by Brilliant Young Entrepreneurs grant have given the right tools for these students to succeed in their entrepreneurial careers,” Nardo says.
From left: JULJA’s Johanna Hakala and Livia di Nardo
JULJA aims high
According to JULJA CEO Inka Kiuru, the year after receiving the Hyundai award has been hectic.
”We’ve been moving forward at a great pace and new, wonderful things just keep popping up. The award really came in useful. It brought us not only a financial boost, but also a lot more credibility for what we’re trying to do. We believe that the award had its part in securing a bank loan for our company,” Kiuru says.
She continues that most of the Brilliant Young Entrepreneur award money was spent on developing the company’s web site and online store, participating in a Copenhagen fashion expo, and paying for the production expenses of the company’s first fashion collection.
The ladies behind JULJA: Johanna Hakala, Nora Peltoniemi (main designer), and Inka Kiuru
”Although we have achieved much in a short time, we have not yet reached our goals. This year we will invest in becoming more international and aim to get as much internal attention as possible. Some retailers in Finland have already taken our products in for sale, but our main sales channels are still our online store and different kinds of rummage sales and pop-up stores that we organize regularly.”
Visit JULJA at juljafinland.com. You can also follow the young ladies’ story on the JULJA blog and on Facebook and Twitter.
More on Hyundai Brillient Young Entrepreneuship project at brilliantentrepreneurs.org.
This year’s NY Start Up finals will be held at the Old Student House in Helsinki together with the Yritystä Stadiin! Event on May 8. College-level JA companies can register for the finals until March 29. Read more at nystartup.fi.
See more JULJA products at juljafinland.com/shop.