Each year, more than 300,000 European high school students go through the experience of running their own business with the help of the educational program “Student Company”.
Based on the “learning through work”, this program enables high school students to establish, develop and close their company during a single school year. They are constantly involved in the development and and management of their companies, with real products and services and they manage the funds that they earn.
All student companies in Europe have the opportunity to compete in local, regional and national competitions, and the best among them go to the European Finals, taking place every July and organized by the Junior Achievement network in one of the member countries. Being the host of such an event is a matter of prestige and good reputation within the network and this year, Serbia and its Junior Achievement organization have the honour of hosting the young entrepreneurs.
This, the single biggest event in the field of entrepreneurial education will be held from July 16th to July 19th at various locations in Belgrade and more than 500 guests from 36 countries are expected to attend. Also present will be senior Serbian officials who will do their part to promote the entrepreneurial spirit of young people.
Serbia will get its representative in May, when the winners of regional competitions of student companies will gather for the national finals. Every year, more than 100 such companies are founded in Serbia, although, in ideal circumstances and at the recommendation of the European Commission, every high school student should have at least one entrepreneurial activity during his or her education.
“In our country, this is still not the case, and that is why the goal of our organization is that by 2020, every secondary school in Serbia has at least one teacher trained for the application of the methodology of this program,” Darko Radicanin, the Executive Director of the Junior Achievement Serbia, says.
During the “final test” of skills, motivation and confidence, European high school students will go through four stages of competition: company report, stage presentation, trade fair appearance and interview with jury members. Sitting across from the 10-member panel of directors and managers of some of the biggest companies in the world may be the hardest challenge faced by the participants. The composition of the panel also reflects the geographical and cultural diversity of Europe.
The arrival of the best student companies to Serbia will help raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship education in our country. The situation in this area isn’t ideal in all EU member states, either, the Junior Achievement organization notes. In some of them, the Student Company program has been implemented for 50 years. In Scandinavian countries, entrepreneurship education is part of state policy. It is important that the wider public in Serbia understand how important it is to educate generations of young entrepreneurs, empowered and ready for future personal and business challenges.
Some of the Biggest Companies in the World are Sponsors of the Competition
The fact that the European competition of the JA is sponsored by the likes of FedEx, AT&T, Citi, Manpower Group, MetLife, AXA, etc, speaks volumes about the importance of entrepreneurship education to those companies.
Last Year, the Estonians Won
Last year’s winner of this competition – Festera, a student company from Estonia – produces household bins that turn organic waste into humus in less than two months. At the same competition, Serbia was represented by the company Lego Buzz from the First Kragujevac Gymnasium. These students make special frames with sensors that transform a beehive into a “smarthive” and beekeepers can constantly monitor their bee colony.
Source: BIZLife magazin
Photo: JA Europe