At a time when Europe struggles to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel (Innovation, Research, Culture, Education & Youth) and Paolo Gentiloni (Economy) and other speakers last week called for investment into education and equipping young people with the skills needed to rebuild our economies.
Speaking at the Award Ceremony of Junior Achievement (JA) Europe Company of the Year Competition, UN Secretary General António Guterres declared: “This crisis offers us an opportunity to reframe traditional business models, and to reset the business agenda by building the capabilities and systems that will foster breakthrough innovations.”
JA student entrepreneurs aged 15-21 showcased their business ideas at this year’s virtual Company of the Year Competition European final. The resilience and innovation of these young entrepreneurs, and the 355,000 young people who created over 30,000 mini-companies across 40 countries in Europe, is truly amazing considering the context of school closures and strict lockdown measures during the past school year.
The winning company of this year’s JA Europe competition, “Bubbles” from Denmark, supports children with learning difficulties through a technology to improve communication between educators and ADHD-students.
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni declared: “We need your energy, your skills, your entrepreneurship and your capacity. We can only achieve a real recovery with a strong contribution of all citizens and especially the young generation. This is why we called our recovery plan The Next Generation EU.” European Commissioner for Education Mariya Gabriel endorsed JA’s mission with these words: “We must ensure that every young person has an entrepreneurial experience at school”.
“This competition has once again shown that the JA Company Programme is a key tool to equip today’s youth with the wide range of skills and experiences needed in today’s competitive jobs market, including resilience and innovation to thrive in times of disruption”, said Adam Warby, Chairman JA Europe. “Junior Achievement calls for broad engagement of the business sector to create such opportunities for all young people in Europe,” added Salvatore Nigro CEO of JA Europe.