The Junior Enterprise concept - the best of two worlds: business and education
Alexandru Dragos Ene
Vice President, Head of Communication
Everywhere in the world students are struggling to get employed during their early years and often have to face with their lack of experience and lack of skills demanded by the job they want. This is because the private sector is often much more dynamic and able to change than the educational system, and students often complain about outdated curricula and missing the chance putting theory into practice.
In the 1960s, in France, a group of students decided that they wanted to take control of their professional life and started together their own student-run business with the mission to do real services for companies while investing most or all of the income back into the business itself, for their own education.
Now the network covers tens of thousands of students all around the world in hundreds of non-profit businesses called simply: Junior Enterprises.
Before they graduate, students in Junior Enterprises work with real clients from the market and get paid for real products or services which they entirely develop and manage. By investing all or most of their income back into the Junior Enterprise they learn about quality, the real value of their knowledge and skills, while also practicing social responsibility.
But that’s not all. Because a Junior Enterprise is always linked to a university, it makes the perfect chance to validate all the knowledge accumulated during courses and seminars and to expand it with innovation. Junior Entrepreneurs take the theoretical knowledge and quickly adapt it to the needs of a real business without having to wait until they finish their bachelor’s degree. Students get real experience and a great sense of trust in themselves. They are empowered to test their limits and afterwards choose the job they really want to do.
The quality of student life gets better, and so the universities attract more productive candidates and become known for having a Junior Enterprise.
Last but not least, the companies get great value for the service they pay for, as the business model of Junior Enterprises enables them to offer quality at an accessible price.
A Junior Enterprise can be a student consultancy, a marketing agency, a prototype incubator or many others. Diversity is that drives the power of our network, and so it makes a lot of sense to exchange best practices among each other. This is why each member country is represented by a national board, which fights for enlargement of the concept and maintaining a high level standard of quality.
In Europe, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises - JADE, represents more than 20.000 students, putting together all the Junior Enterprises that create value for each other throughout Europe, while constantly creating jobs for young people. Our activities fit perfectly into the EU Youth Strategy for 2010-18 that focuses on to providing more and equal opportunities for young people in education and in the job market and encouraging young people to actively participate in society.
A study of the European Commission from March of 2012 provided that the Junior Enterprise is one of the best tools for students to develop themselves and concluded that there is 25% chance of our members to be self employed entrepreneurs, more than the average European student with business studies (10%).
Our vision is to enlarge globally and provide the world with more successful young entrepreneurs, one Junior Enterprise at a time.
Get in touch with JADE if you would like to know more!