Q. : How did you first get involved with JADE
R. :In 2003, I met at a business conference on sustainability in Brussels with Ms Dilek Ayhan, then President of JADE. She later invited me to a European conference of JADE taking place in Brussels and asked me to serve on JADE’s Advisory Board. She would strike me as a highly motivated and organized person, herself from a Turkish minority community in Norway, – a typical responsible, young entrepreneur, as are many of her colleagues whom I have had the privilege to meet through the JADE young entrepreneurs network and who have been involved in establishing and serving within a business enterprise at their university or technical school.
Q. : What has surprised you most working with JADE – or what are your strongest beliefs about JADE ?
R. : JADE provides a unique opportunity to students to develop their practical skills through a hands-on experience during or immediately after their studies. At the same time, JADE can be considered a useful exchange platform between young student entrepreneurs who develop their own business plans for a small enterprise. Unique bonds are thus created at an early stage in professional life at the local level, but also regionally and nationally, as business and engineering students reach out to the real business world, and through the JADE European organisation internationally. At a later stage in professional life, this network is a precious experience to which JADE participants can revert when they were to face dilemmas in their career. Consultation and collective intelligence are thus promoted as helpful, innovative tools and a natural habit to address complex situations. At the same time, Junior Entrepreneurs are practicing values-driven leadership, such as unity in diversity, corporate responsibility and sustainability, a positive, creative attitude to work, participative decision-making, partnership between men and women, accountability.
Q. : What do you wish other people (companies, European public and private institutions) to know about JADE ?
R. : Through globalisation, privatisation and deregulation, the business sector has become the principal agent of social, technical and innovation change. Company human resource departments, career consultants and the private sector at large are searching for talented, well educated, skillfull young professionals capable of driving projects to maturity and fruition, preferably with practical, proven experience. Involvement within JADE develops such skills. With the social cohesion, technical and unemployment challenges facing our urban societies in Europe, in particular among youth, it is highly desirable that public and private institutions at the regional, national and European level develop and support strong entrepreneurship development programs. The public sector’s role is to provide fair social conditions, education opportunities and the infrastructure needed for our modern post-industrial, knowledge-based societies. Jobs, prosperity and innovation are created by private entrepreneurship – the reason why organisations such as JADE need attention and support from the public sector.
Q. What do you think will change about JADE over the next five years ?
R. Hopefully, the positive contribution of JADE and organisations promoting entrepreneurship will be recognized by public sector agencies. JADE-type business enterprises will take initiatives for global cooperative contacts and business exchanges in new markets, especially in BRIC countries, such as India, China, as JADE already does with Brazil, while creating a responsible entrepreneurship model and added-value products and services, and employment in Europe through the supply chain. Geographically, as already done by some Junior Enterprises in France, JADE will also extend the scope of its activities in the Mediterranean Region, including Maghreb and some African countries. In doing so, capital, know-how and the added-value content must be retained in respective countries on our continent, thus ensuring long-term prosperity and employment. Increasingly, sustainability will be a major decision factor; skillful use of energy resources, care of our environment and preservation of scarce resources for future generations will be key. Knowledge-based products and services and the information industry, as well as mobility, will be among the sectors with the highest long-term sustainable performance. It is, therefore, desirable that JADE consider a continued, intergenerational peer dialogue and teams up with organisations and individuals with the competence of delivering a lifelong learning experience to young entrepreneurs.