The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

Commissioner Bienkowska

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the Meeting of the High Level Steering Group on European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (© European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Exclusively written for The Sting by Mr. Yann Camus, President of the European Confederation of Junior Enterprsises (JADE).

Nowadays, leaders embody the role models everyone should strive to follow and become. Therefore, leadership skills are what every single company is looking for. A leader guides people through crisis thanks to his vision and his capacity to transform that vision into reality. As Europe is facing several crises, we are in dire need of strong leaders.

The consequences of Brexit have yet to unveil, migrants need to be hosted and integrated throughout Europe, and unemployment is still a major issue in the Euro area with a 10% rate overall and a 20.8% rate when it comes to youth unemployment according to the European Commission.

One of the solutions identified to tackle unemployment is entrepreneurship. But entrepreneurs must also be (or be supported by) leaders in order to perform effectively. Indeed, strong leadership is essential to enable a young company to gain the trust of several stakeholders and investors while bringing the employees to adhere to a vision and create concrete value on the European market and new jobs. If Europe wants to drive true innovation, growth and competitiveness, then entrepreneurs are needed.

The European Commission just released the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework to foster the entrepreneurial capacity of European citizens. As the expert network on student entrepreneurial spirit and skills development, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) has been working on the definition and implementation of the Framework.

People agree that a great leader needs both strong skills and experience so that his broad perspective can enable him to make the right decisions. The challenge is to understand how to develop one’s skills and especially how to help young people develop these lifelong skills as they lack concrete experience. As a former Head of Communication in JADE used to say, learning has become so much more than the traditional process of assimilating information for practical use: it is now a way to design one’s life.

The Junior Enterprise Concept is a solution: student-run businesses with the mission to perform real services for companies while investing their income back into the business itself, for their own education.

Our network covers thousands of students around Europe in hundreds of non-profit businesses. Even before they graduate, students in Junior Enterprises start working with real clients and get paid for real products or services which they entirely develop and manage themselves. By investing their income back into the Junior Enterprise they learn about quality, the real value of their knowledge and skills, while also practicing social responsibility thus developing their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Junior Enterprise is a safe environment to experiment and gain confidence, making ground for a successful path in an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial career afterwards.

Thanks to this unique opportunity, Junior Entrepreneurs are able to develop their skills, as managers, entrepreneurs and as leaders. This might just be the solution to assure a bright future for the next generation.

About the author 

Yann CamusMr. Yann Camus is the elected President of the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) for the 2016/2017 term. In addition to this role, he personally oversees several departments (Strategy Management, Public Affairs, Network Quality and Internal Management), and he is responsible for developing relationships with public stakeholders and with the affiliated Confederations of Junior Enterprises around Europe. Yann Camus is graduating from Centrale Nantes (France) with a Master of Science in Engineering and a specialization in Computer Science. Prior to taking an international leadership role, he was the president of his local Junior Enterprise and created key alliances with companies as well as other Junior Enterprises at local and national levels. In the corporate field, he has been a Business Processes Consultant for a nanotechnology startup in London. He also took part in the creation of a startup through an open innovation initiative of Mazars, an international audit firm.

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