230 Junior Entrepreneurs and over 70 guests attended the International Congress on “Entrepreneurial Skills for Youth”

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The International Congress on “Entrepreneurial Skills for Youth”, organized by JADE, took place between 6th and 9th of March, in Brussels. The event gathered 230 Junior Entrepreneurs, of over 22 nationalities, representing 45 Junior Enterprises. Over 70 guests from businesses, entrepreneurs and corporations, European institutions, global organisations, foundations, educational institutions, national governments, lobbying organisations, think tanks and many other organisations, gathered to reflect on what are the entrepreneurial skills young people need and whether there exists the right environment to foster them. 

The Opening Ceremony started with keynote speeches from Adriana Anchidin, President of JADE, Bruno van Pottelsberghe, Dean of Solvay Brussels School, Monica Carco, Chief Investment and Technology Unit of UNIDO, Dilek Ayhan, Deputy Minister at Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica and Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy DG Education and Culture. The next session was dedicated to a panel discussion, composed by Daniel Cloquet, Director of Entrepreneurship and SMEs of BUSINESSEUROPE, Marko Curavić, Head of the Unit “Entrepreneurship and Social Economy” in DG Enterprise and Industry, Solveigh Hieronimus, Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company, Michał Dżoga, Head of Corporate Affairs (CEE Region) at Intel, Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES and Dilek Ayhan. The panel was successfully moderated by Steven Price, CEO of the European Institute of Industrial Leadership.

The main highlights of the discussions referred to the need of fostering an entrepreneurial culture as a solution to youth unemployment. The representatives from different sectors agreed that the aim should be to enable young people to have a good combination of strong entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurial attitudes. The Junior Enterprise concept was recognised as a solution and presented as a win-win model in bridging the gap between education and businesses.

The first day of the event ended with the pitches of the JADE’s Excellence Awards finalists. Marketing Méditerranée was chosen as the most socially responsible Junior Enterprise, having undertaken actions in the areas of environmental, economic, social and societal responsibilities, while ESCadrille Tolouse was recognised as the most international Junior Enterprise, by having 22% of their turnover coming from international projects. This adds up to organising and attending international events, working on 3 continents, 17 countries and 52 cities and also having increased their international turnover by 83% in comparison to the previous year. When it comes to the most creative and innovative project, JEst, an Italian Junior Enterprise, won by pioneering a new recruitment approach, tailored to the Italian reality. Talking about students fostering entrepreneurship, JADE’s motto, ConQuest Consulting, from Poland, won the award for the most entrepreneurial Junior Enterprise, by shaping and reshaping their processes with the results of achieving a turnover growth of 348% in past 3 years.

The jury of the competition was composed of Monique Blokzyl, Founder of Business Lunch Portal, Emiliya Hubavenska, Information and Communication Assistant at DG CONNECT, Antonia Sariyska, JADE President 2010, Krzysztof Gawrysiak, Business Angel, Steven Price and Ketan Makwana, entrepreneur.

After discussing about fostering entrepreneurial skills for young people, the participants took action on the matter. Workshops were given by McKinsey & Company, Inês Santos Silva, Chief at StartUp Pirates, Olivier Witmeur, Deputy Dean for Executive Education at Solvay Brussels School, André Magalhães, JADE Secretary General 2009 and many others. Also, European and Brazilian Junior Enterprises had the opportunity to share their best practices with fellow Junior Entrepreneurs, giving the experience of a peer to peer learning process. The event proved to be a great opportunity for closing business partnerships between Junior Enterprises from all over Europe (France, Poland, Belgium, UK, Italy, Germany and other).

The Closing Ceremony had as speakers former CEO of A.T. Kearney, Heinz Ludwig Klein, about 10 essentials of a successful consultant, and Bror Salmelin, Advisor to DG CONNECT and Founder of Open Innovation Group, on the impact of open innovation on fostering entrepreneurship in Europe.

Bruno van Pottelsberghe, Dean of Solvay Brussels School, was available for comments: “Bringing a unique and vibrant atmosphere of entrepreneurship in Brussels, JADE is the network that Europe needs and that European policy makers should listen to.”

“Very inspiring event, very inspiring participants – we need more of this kind of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe, now more than ever”, said Solveigh Hieronimus, Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company.

And, representing Intel Corporation: “At Intel we have a strong feeling that our collaboration with JADE in the area of entrepreneurship education will contribute to overall out of university performance of young people. JADE network is presenting the entrepreneurial spirit and proactive attitude that is the fundament for effective collaboration with business” declared Michał Dżoga, Head of Corporate Affairs.

Check out the official report of JADE Spring Meeting 2014 here:
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