The Junior Enterprise concept, one of the best ways to develop practical skills

Bienkowska 2018 JADE

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, attends the Galileo launch in Kourou. © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service /

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by David Gomes, the President of JADE – European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE).

It is really amazing to start an adventure like the one I decided to take on, especially after 2 years and a half of Junior Enterprise experience, where I learned more than I could have ever imagined. During my Bachelor’s, I had the opportunity to join an organization that claimed to “put into practice what we learned in classes”. Indeed, there, I found more than just a practical approach to what I was learning – I developed soft skills that are nowadays crucial for the labour market, such as communication, people management, results orientation, stress management, and many others.

When I was about to finish my degree, I realized that I could have returned the value that the Junior Enterprise Network had given me. That I could have helped the Network generate a more relevant impact. That I could have helped in the development of a concept that I believe in so much. After being staff of one of the international events (JADE Spring Conference 2017), I applied for JADE Executive Board, knowing that I would have had to move to Brussels to work for it full-time – but that did not scare me at all.

After the recruitment process, I was elected together with 3 other people, to form the Executive Board of JADE – a group of people that I am sure I will learn a lot with. A group of people that, since the beginning, was motivated to work for the Network, for the Junior Entrepreneurs, and to work on the relationship they have, not only with JADE, but with the Network itself.

My expectations for this year are huge. We started the term one month ago and I am already overwhelmed about this experience. It has been a month full of work, stress, laughs, adventures, experiences. We can already feel the big waves coming in our direction.

On the professional side, there are many achievements that I look forward to reach. As part of the Executive Board, I am also responsible for 4 departments: Strategy, Events, Human Resources and International Relations.

As Head of Strategy, my goal is to keep our daily-activities aligned with what is defined in the Network Strategy for the next three years. Something that the last Executive Board worked hard to define – the result? A strategy based on 3 pillars and divided in 8 goals, that are meant to lead the Network into a new era – an era where the Junior Enterprise concept is recognized as one of the best ways to develop practical skills.

As Head of Events, I want to use our international events as an opportunity to enhance the engagement of Junior Entrepreneurs with the Network itself and connect with many people. Our events gather people from the 15 countries of our network, and that is the best time to promote the exchange of best practices among the Junior Enterprises, or even promote the establishment of partnerships between them. This way, Junior Enterprises start to do projects in collaboration between themselves, not only in their countries, but also in others.

As Head of Human Resources, my aspiration is to manage the Human Capital of the organization wisely, making sure that JADE Team is motivated and delivers value to what we do on a daily basis. Also, one of my objectives for this year is to increase the Employer Branding of the organization, raising the awareness of how it is to work in JADE Team, and making Junior Entrepreneurs aware of the fact that they can develop themselves working for an international confederation.

Finally, as Head of International Relations, it is my job to maintain the communication of JADE with foreign countries, especially with other International Confederations from different continents, and promote more the exchange of best practices with them. Also, it is my responsibility to represent the European Network in the General Assembly of the Junior Enterprise Global Council, defending our interests as a Network, but also contributing for the development of the Global representative of the Junior Enterprise concept. We believe that “The future is global”, and if we do not promote the Junior Enterprise concept worldwide, we are not giving the opportunity to students to develop themselves during their higher education journey. Our dream is to “have a Junior Enterprise in every university”.

Last, but not least, as President of the Executive Board, my aim is to keep my team motivated, to deliver results and develop themselves throughout the year. In the end, I want to feel that not only I worked one year for an organization, but I also earned 3 new siblings.

On a more personal level, my aspiration is to reach the end of the year, looking back and seeing the way this experience will have changed me. I believe that this year, being the first one that I live abroad, will make me change my mindset with a complete new way of seeing things. Leading a Network of more than 28,000 Junior Entrepreneurs, from more than 330 Junior Enterprises, located in 15 countries, it is a huge responsibility – so big that not even the word “responsibility” is enough to carry the meaning it holds to us.

I expect this experience to help me develop new skills, while still keep improving the ones I developed earlier in my years as part of my Junior Enterprise – I expect nothing but personal development after 1 year of such an enriching experience, with inspiring people, working with meaningful organizations and generating a relevant impact.

About the author

David Gomes, 21 years old, is the President of JADE – European Confederation of Junior Enterprises. He is in charge of keeping the activities aligned with the long-term strategy of the Confederation, coordinating all the European Network’s events, managing the human resources of the organization, and maintaining the international relations of JADE.

David is a graduated in business management from ISCTE Business School (Lisbon, Portugal). He was Management and Strategy Director of his Junior Enterprise, ISCTE Junior Consulting, responsible for managing a 12-people department, and as member of the Executive Board, he was part of the decision-making structure of the Junior Enterprise.

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