“Education and entrepreneurship have always been keys to Bata culture. They come together in JA’s mission to bring the real world to students and as such broadening their horizons. Nothing means more to Bata than to see young people realizing their dreams and to see the JA network growing larger every day. JA has brought the “experience of a lifetime” to so many young people and must continue to do so, ” said Thomas G. Bata, Bata Group Chairman.
The relationship between JA and the Bata Group goes back 40 years. Early on, in Canada, Mr and Mrs Bata were both engaged as board members at JA Canada and the company was a major supporter. After 1989, when Bata was able to return to the Czechoslovakia, JA organisations were set up in Prague and Bratislava. Later, after the Velvet Divorce, JA Czech Republic and JA Slovakia were created in 1994. Bata went on to support the creation of a JA regional office to support nascent JA operations in Central and Eastern Europe, housed in the Bata founder’s home in Zlin, Czech Republic. Since 2001, when the pan-European office JA Europe was established in Brussels, Bata and has added Italy, Switzerland and France to its list of JA beneficiaries. Bata is represented on the JA Europe board of directors.
Bata was one of the major drivers behind the efforts in establishing the JA Alumni Network, as they are the next generation of high-performing business leaders and entrepreneurs across Europe. Around 100 young leaders every year take part in the Leadership Conference supported by Bata. The conference provides a forum for JA alumni across Europe to come together and share experiences from their own countries as well as create a vision and programme of activities for an alumni network at the European level.
Bata Shoe Foundation funding also supports the Thomas J. Bata Quality Award for the best performing JA Member Organization in Europe every year.