JADE Spring Meeting 2015: a step forward for Youth Entrepreneurship

jade_logo_Four days full of excitement for entrepreneurship, networking and moments at the intersection of student life and responsibility for the future, this is what briefly describes JADE Spring Meeting 2015: Challenging the Entrepreneurship Status Quo!

More than 220 students from 15 different countries and 50 guests from private and public sector (including more than 20 represented companies) gathered together in various settings along the period of the youth congress, under the patronage of MEP ‎José Manuel Fernandes.  The participants attended workshops, networking activities, informal nights, one high level Opening Ceremony and the Gala Dinner that set a new standard for the Excellence Awards – European Awards for Junior Enterprises, with the highest participation rate in the history of the network.

Opening Ceremony

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Jade Spring Meeting 2015 Opening Ceremony

Is the european entrepreneurial ecosystem actually supporting youth to create new jobs? This was the most important question of the Opening Ceremony held at Thon Brusses City Centre.

The Ceremony was started by Ioana David, JADE President, who issued the importance that the event does not only adress general europe-wide topics but also each participant as an individual person with a great character. The following keynote speeches from MEP ‎José Manuel Fernandes and Ms. Karen Wilson (Senior Fellow at Bruegel Think Tank) introduced the audinence to more facts about how entrepreneurship is changing and why the present challenges need to be adresses from the perspective of youth. Mr. Jacques Ragot, Director Global Public Affairs at Bayer MaterialScience, held a 15 minute speech about how Bayer drives innovation by fostering entrepreneurship and how all big companies must do so.

Mario Tarouca, Treasurer of JADE, presented the results of Generations Club 2014 that clearly showed that a lot of students would apply the skills that they have learned during higher and academic education as intrapreneurs inside companies and still feel true entrepreneurs.

Ms. Alexa Joyce (Director of Policy, Teaching and Learning Worldwide Education – Microsoft), Mr. Alessandro Cenderello (Managing Partner EU Institutions – EY), Mr. Florian Iwinjak (Programme and Liaison Officer –  The United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and Mr. Marko Curavic (Head of Unit ‘Entrepreneurship’, DG Enterprise and Industry – European Commission) were devided in two teams: pro and cons, in what was a one hour straight debate, moderated by Mr. Steven Price (CEO of European Institute for Industrial Leadership),  between the public and private sector on weather the stakeholders of today’s economy are teaming up efficiently enough to foster prosperity for young entrepreneurs that are at the start of their journey. The conclusion of the debate was set during a two minute live online voting session. Despite the PRO team’s efforts to keep the audience optimistic, the perspective of the participats was clear: 75% voted that the entrepreneurial ecosystem is not helping them in the mission of creating new jobs.

Every year, JADE names a small number of Junior Enterprises from a broad range of applicants as the laureateas of Excellence Awards – European Awards for Junior Enterprises, in several categories. This year, 12 finalists presented their application during the Opening Ceremony for 6 prestigious awards: Most Innovative Project, Most Socially Responsible Project, Most international Junior Enterprise, Most Entrepreneurial Junior Enterprise, Most Promising Junior Enterprise and Junior Enterprise of the Year.

The jury composed of Ms. Alexa Joyce, Mr. Alessandro Cenderello, Mr. Steven Price, Patrizia Baffioni and Eduin Matta (The United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and Jaques Ragot debated after the ceremony on who should be the winners.

The Ceremony was closed by JADE Vice President, Alexandru Ene, who concluded that that facts remain facts without relevance and the status quo is going to change anyway, and it’s up to Junior Entrepreneurs to challenge it.

Gala Dinner and Excellence Awards

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Jade Spring Meeting 2015 Gala Dinner

The Gala Dinner night completed the agenda with the show of the Excellence Awards. The prizes were awarded by JADE Spring Meeting partners: Most Entrepreneurial Junior Enterprise: EY, Most Innvative Project: Bayer, Most Socially Responsible Project: UNIDO, Most Promising Junior Enterprise: European Institute of Industrial Leadership, Most international Junior Enterprise: Microsoft.  The Junior Enterprise of the Year Award was given by JADE in the name of all companies involved.

The winners of the Excellence Awards were:

Most Innovative Project: SBS Student Consulting Club (JADE Belgium – Belgium
Most Socially Responsible Project: JuniFEUP (JADE Portugal – Portugal)
Most international Junior Enterprise: WBC UK (WBC UK – United Kingdom)
Most Entrepreneurial Junior Enterprise: JEME Bocconi Studenti (JADE Italia – Italy)
Most Promising Junior Enterprise: Junior ISIT (CNJE – France)
Junior Enterprise of the Year: Marketing Méditerranée (CNJE – France)

The night was closed with final words from the JADE Executive Board. The participants were then invited to enjoy the rest of the night togheter in the beautiful seetting of the venue, until early in th morning.

Workshops

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Jade Spring Meeting 2015 Workshops

Under the motto ’’I am a Junior Entrepreneur, I challenge the status quo”, the Junior Entrepreneurs were invited to attend no less than 25 workshop sessions during two inspiring days at Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management. Partner companies and institutions, as well as Junior Entrepreneurs or Alumni of JADE put skills into practice on themes such as internationalisation, skills development, networking, technology and risk taking. You can see the full list of workshop here.

Topping the list of practical sessions was the full day Bayer MaterialScience Innovation Lab held by Stefan Koch and Julia Altenhofer on Friday: ’’From dark to sunrise. Value creation for people in developing countries travel to the rural areas in India and Southeast Asia.’’ The challenge for Junior Entrepreneurs was to improve the life of people in a local village who only have 5-8 $ per day of disposable income and help them to get access to products and services which are taking for granted in European countries.

Moving forward

Many ideas were exchanged during JADE Spring Meeting 2015. Many new contacts have been shared. Many young minds have been challenged. The event was a sum of milestone achivements: for the first time, 12 Junior Entrepreneurs were chosen to contribute to the organisation of the congress. The Excellence Awards, with the highest participation until now, reached all member countries. The networking setting converted the interractions between our participants into soon to become partnerships. Our next event, Summer JADE Meeting 2015, has also been oficially launched during the last weekend. Visit our website and stay conected to our social media in order to experience the follow-up!

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