European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

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Photo taken during JADE handover ceremony at the European Parliament (JADE, 2016)

On June 10th this year the European Commission launched the new Skills Agenda for Europe, to which we participated providing our expertise concerning entrepreneurial skills.

Europe faces today a number of challenges: on one hand, more and more students every year acquire a degree in secondary and tertiary education; on the other hand we face rising youth unemployment; at the same time, 40% of European employers report that they cannot find people with the right skills to grow and innovate.

The situation calls therefore for solutions to bridge the gap between academia and the business world, providing young people with the soft and hard skills that the job market is requiring. The Junior Enterprises constitute in this landscape one of the solutions to the skills mismatch: JEs are students-run associations constituted inside universities that operate on the market like small business, giving the students the chance to:

  • Develop hard and soft skills by working on real projects for clients
  • Develop managerial skills in managing the Junior Enterprise in all its aspect (sales, marketing, communication, contracts…)
  • Develop entrepreneurial skills in bringing forward the organization itself and ensuring its sustainability over time

The Junior Enterprise concept, created in France in 1967, has been developing over the years in Europe and across the world, has been impacting considerably on tens of thousands of students, with over 20,000 young Europeans involved every year in the Junior Enterprise network.

The positive impact of the Junior Enterprise concept was also recently underlined by President Schulz, who in a recently released video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9LaGKY7TNg)  said:

“I want to congratulate JADE for its involvement in encouraging entrepreneurial skills in Europe. (…) In addition to their studies, 22.000 students are practically involved into the running of non-profit SMEs in Europe: that is an impressive number of young Europeans learning how to become entrepreneurs, and moreover discovering social entrepreneurship”

The words of President Schulz are also the best introduction to the new JADE Executive Board, whose term will begin in August and that will take over the 2016 team. The 2017 ExBo was officially introduced to the organization’s stakeholders during the JADE Handover Ceremony, that took place in the European Parliament on July 12th. The event, introduced by MEP Novakov, with the support of MEP Fernandes, was the occasion to summarize the results achieved by the Junior Enterprise Movement in 2016 and to introduce the new team, ready to bring the JE network one step further. This commitment is well summarized by the words of Yann Camus, newly elected JADE President for 2017:

“Why are we here today? Why are we going to commit one year for the Junior Enterprise network? Because we want to contribute to something greater than us. Because we want to impact the development of students. Because at some point we met someone who changed our life by introducing to us the concept of Junior Enterprise”

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