JA Finland’s latest international project, GOALS (Social Entrepreneurship Student Companies in the Baltic Sea Region) brings the social entrepreneurship aspect to the JA Company Program. The project involves a total of 60 students and 15 teachers from Finland, Latvia and Estonia every year for three years. In the project secondary school students are setting up multinational JA companies whose business ideas are linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The first event of the project was a three-day innovation camp held in Helsinki on 27-29 October 2019. During the camp, students got to know each other, form multinational teams, and brainstorm business ideas to make the world a better place. During the days, students took a deep dive into the world of entrepreneurship and heard keynotes on UN global goals, innovation, validation and pitching. The goal of the camp was to develop a business idea, a business model around it and a 5-minute pitch. The structure of the days was based on self-directed and active working and learning by doing. The JA Finland team was actively involved in mentoring the teams and supported learning and the process with various business development tools.
The event culminated on Tuesday morning, when the 12 teams formed at the event had the opportunity to present 5-minute sales pitches of their ideas.
“It was absolutely amazing to see how the students developed the concepts in just a few days and not forgetting building new networks and having fun, which are at the heart of all these international events,” says Eemeli Alanne, Head of Operations at JA Finland and Project Manager.
The teams’ business ideas focused on different areas and addressed a wide range of issues currently facing the world. The range of business ideas was enormous: responsible communication as a service, using plastic trash for new products, responsible travel accessories, a book club, reusing jeans fabrics, economic education materials and much more.
International teams will now continue to operate next month in their respective countries and remotely. The next team meeting will be in late November in Tallinn, where participants will gather for the next three-day development event. In Tallinn, the idea is to refine the ideas so that teams can take part in spring fairs in Estonia and Latvia.
The project is a led by the Junior Achievement Finland together with two of its sister organizations in Latvia (JA Latvia) and Estonia (JA Eesti). The project is a three-year project and every year the participating students are new. The schools from Finland are Etu-Töölö Upper Secondary School in Helsinki, Vihti Upper Secondary School, Hämeenlinna Upper Secondary School and Padasjoki Upper Secondary School. The project has four international events each year, which take place in Finland, Latvia and Estonia. The project has been funded by the European Union’s Erasmus + program. In Finland, the Erasmus + National Agency within the National Board of Education is responsible for the management and implementation of Erasmus +.
You can follow the progress of the project on social media through JA Finland’s channels and by liking the GOALS project Facebook page here.
JA Company Program
The project tool is the JA Company Program, where students set up and run a real-money JA company for an academic year. The program is open in Finland for middle schools, upper secondary school and VET institutions as well as universities and universities of applied sciences. The program provides a turnkey solution for entrepreneurship education. The program has been named in the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Entrepreneurship Guidelines (2017) as one way to implement entrepreneurship education at different school levels in accordance with the new curricula. You can read more about the program in Finland here.