JADE: here and again at European Business Summit 2015

Last week, JADE – European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – was invited to join European Business Summit. This year, our organisation was also honored to organise one of the ’’ Meet the Experts” sessions, on Entrepreneurial Skills for youth, among organisations such as Bruegel, EuroFound and European Social Observatory.  We believe that youth participation in structured dialogue on themes like digitalisation and employment is essential. We were pleased to witness a joint effort to secure a market more open to new possibilities for the next generation.

Organised by BUSINESSEUROPE and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), EBS is one of the most influential business forums in Europe. This year’s focus was on the new digital revolution, or Europe 4.0.

You can find an overview about the content of the event here.

Delivering the vision

We have attended most of the debates and a great deal of Meet the Experts sessions. Our mission was to understand if the Junior Enterprise Concept, student-run businesses that work like NGOs, are fit for the vision of high-level officials shaping the future of markets in Europe. And we have not been disappointed.

The opening plenary: Europe 4.0: Delivering a vision for the future of Europe brought about the digital revolution in Europe and the great potential of bringing SMEs to the Digital Single Market, one of the flagship projects of the European Commission that would enable ideal regulations and leverages for a European market in the digital space.

To support this topic, Jo Deblaere, (COO of Accenture) stressed that by 2020, there will be 900.000 vacations that require digital skills. Also, he argued that “Technology and digital shall be not only means for efficiency but also proper drivers for growth”

Ioana David (JADE President), Mario Tarouca (JADE Treasurer) and Jo Deblaere (COO of Accenture)

The EU digital single market could create 3.8 million jobs and bring 415 billion euros to the EU GDP. “But only if we are ready to ride the wave of digital transformation”,said Director General of BUSINESSEUROPE, Markus J. Beyrer.


JADE Team and Markus J. Beyrer

We were also particularly interested in the opinion of Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, who stated that ’’having more competition makes us more innovative” and pointed out the danger of complex policies, because they are ’’the death of SMEs’’.

On the second day, on the debate Innovation – how do we do research to innovate in the digital era, with guests such as: Ann Cairns, (President of MasterCard) and Carlos Moedas (Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation) the panelists reached the conclusion that „we have the talent, we have the expertise, we are missing entrepreneurship”.  Challenged by one of JADE’s delegates to EBS, Daniela Runchi, with a question on how should education adapt to create more entrepreneurial generation,  Gianpiero Lotito said that ’’entrepreneurship is a mindset that you cannot teach’’.

Daniela Runchi, President of JADE Italia and Ioana David, President of JADE, with the President of MasterCard

BONUS: We challenged Carlos Moedas to participate in the next JADE’s event – Summer JADE Meeting 2015. The Commissioner on Research, Science and Innovation, who was very excited with the JE concept, accepted immediately our invitation and he will be one of the speakers of the Opening Ceremony! The event will host 400 Junior Entrepreneurs in Coimbra – Portugal, 23-26/July.

JADE Team and Carlos Moedas

JADE also participated in the session of Think Young, held by Andrea Gerosa (Founder of Think Young and former President of JADE). He said that 48% of millennials want to create their own company and that EU does not lack talent, but environment and role models.

Junior Achievement Europe stated, during its own session, that companies think that young people are lacking entrepreneurial skills. A delegate of Euronuclear Group pointed out, on that topic, that skills-based volunteers are their future volunteers.

So on one side, companies are looking to employ entrepreneurial minds, and on the other side, the private and public sector are not cooperating well enough to secure the right environment. But let’s not forget that young people need to be inspired: in a recent study by the European Commission, role models are an essential part of entrepreneurial development in different regions of Europe.

JADE: Meet the Experts session

The Meet the Experts session organised by JADE was about Entrepreneurial Skills and the report of Generation Club 2014, our flagship event for round table debating on policy making. In 2014, the skills mismatch affected vacancies reached a staggering figure of 2.000.000. The key question of the session was ’’ How can we, as young people and agents of change, contribute to reduce this gap?’’

The session was presented by JADE President, Ioana David, and JADE Treasurer, Mario Tarouca and looked through the best practices recommended by the Generations Club partner student organisations, representing more than 17.000.000 students in Europe. Through several interactive steps, the presenters showed the audience how JADE Network and particularly the Junior Enterprise Concept fits all reported recommendations, offering a 360 degree entrepreneurial experience that students, but also society and economy can highly benefit from.

Mario Tarouca and Ioana David at EBS 2015 Meet the Experts session

The new generation

The Closing Ceremony main actor was Martin Schultz, President of the European Parliament, who concluded, after a long speech summarizing the achievements of the EU initiatives over the last years, that as to maintain innovation in Europe through competitiveness with the world’s global players, Europe must stay together: ’’Divided we are weak. Together we are strong”

Another need that caught our attention was the’’need to improve our curriculain order to create skilled youth.

JADE Team and Martin Scultz, President of the European Parliament

JADE is, above all, a network of enterprises that roll out millions of euros per year. It is a scalable, European ecosystem impacted by policies. Among the topics discussed intensively during the two days, we have seen the need for single market, which in Europe’s vision is a digital one. We have also witnessed discussions around risk aversion, but not so many solutions though. The panel on debate Innovation – how do we do research to innovate in the digital era agreed once during their discussion that the US is attracting the academic „brains”, using them as a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial studies, like the Global Entrepreneurship Index, strongly underline the correlation between education and business skills. We are wondering if maybe the competitive advantage of training the new generation has been somehow left on the side.

We want to see more student organisations represented in events like EBS 2015. We have worked with such organisations representing in total more than 17 million students. While the organisations themselves are not major economic players, they stay united as pioneers of entrepreneurial and leadership mindsets.

The game of development is competition. The game of evolution is staying together. And this is something that the new generation needs to know.

JADE would like to thank the General Manager of the European Business Summit, Mr Arnaud Thysen, for supporting its participation to this important event, which is essential for bringing ideas and best practices together and creating sustainable solutions for the Europe of tomorrow.

See more photos from EBS 2015 here.


Watch the exclusive interview of JADE President, Ioana David, by the European Sting (second video of the playlist).