Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

Daniela Runchi JADE President_

The article was exclusively co-authored for the Sting by Daniela Runchi, President and Carolinne Bernadeli, Global Public Affairs Senior Project Manager of JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises 

Turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

Promoting Entrepreneurship in Europe, and turning Europe itself into an Entrepreneurial society is one of the priorities of the European Commission for the next years, with its Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the Key Actions and programs such as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. The spread of start-ups and entrepreneurship programs around the continent in the last years is in itself a clear sign of such a trend, and of the fact that not only European institutions, but also national and local ones are putting more and more efforts in creating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

In fact, during an economic crisis like the one Europe has been facing, Entrepreneurship becomes not only an attractive career, but also one of the possibilities still open to young people that do not manage to enter a labour market which gets more and more selective. Indeed, entrepreneurship skills have become one of the requirement of the labour market itself, being companies more and more willing to grow, expand, and think out of the box to attract new customers.

However, when it comes to entrepreneurship much is still to be done: according to a study conducted by the Commission itself, only 37% of Europeans are willing to become entrepreneurs, one of the main barriers being, among others, an education system that does not promote entrepreneurship as an attractive path. What initiatives are in place to make the situation better?

Junior Enterprises: students fostering entrepreneurship

It is in this setting that Junior Enterprises come into play, with their contribution to the growth of Europe and its youth. Junior Enterprises are student-run SMEs, created and acting inside universities, that operate on the market like proper companies. Being entirely managed by students, Junior Enterprises constitute for their members a unique opportunity to develop those entrepreneurial skills that prove to be necessary in today’s markets: the Junior Entrepreneurs need to define the services that the organization is able to provide to the market – on the basis of the members’ skills and fields of study, identify potential customers, prepare a convincing sales pitch to convince their clients and ultimately to deliver high quality projects.

Being the Junior Enterprises non-profit organization, the turnover is reinvested in the training of the members. Junior Entrepreneurs acquire therefore entrepreneurial, hard and soft skills in three ways: they receive high level specific training, they apply the “learning by doing” principle by developing the projects for their clients, and they develop management and leadership skills by managing the Junior Enterprise itself like a proper SME.

Not only Junior Entrepreneurs acquire entrepreneurial skills by working in the Junior Enterprise, but they are also high profile students to start with: like any organization that strives to achieve quality, all the Junior Enterprise choose their members implementing a structured selection process based not only on skills but mostly on motivation, commitment and passion.

Junior Entrepreneurs are therefore students who develop entrepreneurial, managerial, technical skills, who are driven by passion, motivation, and commitment, and are willing to go the extra mile to foster their education and building a better future. How are they contributing every day to Europe?

Junior Enterprises in Europe

The JE concept has been created in Europe almost 50 years ago – precisely in 1967 in Paris, France, at ESSEC University. Since then, it has spread around the continent – and far beyond – and is today present in 14 European countries (FR, ES, PT, IT, AT, CH, DE, BE, NL, PL, RO, GB, SE, HR), involving 22,00 university students with 280 Junior Enterprises based in 250 among the top universities in the continent (5 most represented fields: management, business, economics, engineering, finance).

Over the years, a number of studies have shown the value of JEs for society: for instance, the JE concept is quoted as a mean to reach the objective of increasing economic and social impact in the European Commission report “Entrepreneurship Education: a road to success” (2015), and “facilitate the development of Junior Enterprises” is a key priority for Education and Youth Framework of EU2020.

Junior Entrepreneurs in Europe work daily to become tomorrow’s business leaders and stellar professional, developing at the same time a feeling of belonging to the European society thanks to the international connections they build along the way with foreign Junior Entrepreneurs. But they are not the only ones: what happens in the rest of the world?

Junior Enterprises in Brazil – from the Brazilian Junior Entrepreneurs Carolinne Bernardeli

In 2016, we celebrate 28 years of Junior Enterprise Movement in Brazil, counting with 11000 Junior Entrepreneurs distributed in 260 JEs, which congregates 17 states of the country. The Brazilian Junior Enterprises, thanks to their Junior Entrepreneurs, promote direct impact on national Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. First, we believe that the Junior Entrepreneurs act in the Universities, spreading the entrepreneurial culture in that environment. Through the project realization, these students add value to the market, exposing solutions that benefit the development and innovation of our economy. Finally, there is an impact generated in the country itself, by engaging ourselves in a common cause – transform Brazil into a more entrepreneurial country. Commitment and capacity of doing and sharing are the pillars that allow the development of such skills and expertise in our Junior Entrepreneurs. By sharing the individual stimuli, there is a development of the Network. It gives Brasil Júnior the opportunity to be considered the biggest “entrepreneurship school” at the national level, pointing our work as an effective platform for entrepreneurial training, able to develop management abilities and technical skills in our Junior Entrepreneurs, resulting in positive influence for market innovation. By aligning, supporting, expanding and integrating the Junior Enterprises and the Junior Entrepreneurs nationwide, Brasil Júnior believes that the “Brazilian JE Movement challenge is as big as Brazil”.

Looking at the future

jade_logo_Junior Enterprise represent a unique opportunities for Europe to develop the skills of tomorrow’s leaders: efforts are being made by the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – JADE – to facilitate the creation of new JEs in those countries in which the concept is still not present, such as Denmark or Norway, and to raise every day the quality of the existing Junior Enterprises.

If you would like to know more about the JE concept, create a Junior Enterprise, or promote its creation in your local environment, do not hesitate to visit JADE’s website or to contact me at daniela.runchi@jadenet.org!

About Daniela

Daniela Runchi JADE President_Daniela Runchi is JADE President for 2016, where she works on Strategy, Private Cooperation, Communication, International Relations, IT and Internal Management. Daniela Runchi is graduating at Bocconi University (Italy) from a MSc in Economic and Social Sciences. In the Junior Enterprises since 2012, she has been in her JE Network Manager, Secretary General and eventually President in 2013. At national level, she was Secretary and President in 2014-2015. In the corporate field, she has been PM for a Startup and for a design company in Italy; afterwards, she moved to China, where she worked for a multinational in fashion, and for an international corporation in the cosmetics industry.

About Carolinne 

Carolinne Bernadeli

Carolinne Bernardeli is the Global Public Affairs Senior Project Manager of JADE in 2015.2, responsible for representing the Confederation toward European and Global Organizations, managing the statistics of our Network by the Census & Identity and developing the strategies, campaigns and actions for the Junior Enterprise World Day (JEWD). Carolinne Bernardeli studies Food Engineering at the Federal University of Viçosa – Brazil and since May 2012, she has worked for the Junior Enterprise Movement. In the Food Engineering Junior Enterprise – Alimentos Júnior Consultoria – she collaborated as Commercial Assistent, Marketing Manager and Vice President. For the Center of Junior Enterprises in the University, she worked as Monitoring Consultant, Alignment and Excellence Manager, President and member of the Consultative Council. In the Brazilian Confederation of Junior Enterpises – Brasil Júnior – she already worked as a Business Advisor and, nowadays, is an International Ambassador. Particularly, she is experienced in sales and negotiations of services and partnerships, besides institutional relationships with public and educational organizations. In 2016, Carolinne is assuming the Presidency of FEJEMG, the biggest Federation in Brazil, which represents the JEs from Minas Gerais.

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