The Board of Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation has unanimously decided to grant a prize of €250,000 to Junior Achievement Finland. The prize was announced on 9 October 2022. Since the 1950s, Wihuri Foundation has been awarding various prizes and donations to both private individuals and entities.
Junior Achievement Finland has been working to promote the entrepreneurship, working life and financial skills of children and young people for the past 20 years. The association’s CEO Sami Suomela says that the prize is a very significant recognition of their work to promote education, and it supports their goal of giving all children and young people around Finland equal opportunities to practise and learn important skills for the future: courage to become an entrepreneur, financial skills and work life capabilities.
Actively participating young people who believe in themselves
Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation is building basic conditions for a thriving society by enabling research, art and societal activities. The foundation’s mission is to create chances to fulfill, encounter and experience these three areas of life.
According to Suomela, Junior Achievement Finland is actively participating in building the future of Finland.
“We want to give young people a view into the future work life and help them create networks. Our goal is young people who are capable and believe in themselves, who actively participate in building society, employ themselves and others, and take care of their finances in a responsible manner. Every year, we get to see and experience wonderful stories, when the young people who participate in our learning programmes and tell us what kinds of skills they have gained and how they have learnt new things about themselves as well. For many, this experience has been a turning point, and they are currently involved in our work as JA alumni, visiting schools, for example, telling pupils about their own experience in the entrepreneurship programme and what kinds of paths it has opened for them.”
Every year, thousands of children and young people all around Finland take part in the association’s programmes in schools and educational institutions. The most popular programmes include Pikkuyrittäjät, Our Community, and JA Company Programme. Suomela says that teachers also play an important part in promoting entrepreneurship education, encouraging and inspiring learners to participate, be creative and entrepreneurial.
“We also believe that regions become more dynamic when we develop young people’s entrepreneurial and work life capabilities. We promote the cooperation between education and working life both regionally and nationally, and this shows in the various great forms of activity and the new ideas we have for the cooperation between our partners, young people and schools,” says Suomela.