Students boost local community with social enterpriseBrussels, Belgium, 17 June 2015
Young social entrepreneurs from the team ‘Auxilium’ in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) won the 2015 ‘Best Social Enterprise Award’ based on their social enterprise concept. The team started running a canteen in the centre of Skopje, which provides warm meals for homeless individuals 12 hours a day. By receiving donations from local markets and bakeries the students are able to give back, while supporting their local community.
The winning students competed against 254 other Social Enterprise Programme (SEP) mini-companies in 14 countries Europe (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, FYROM, Malta, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain and the UK).
Auxilium team member, Ana Stefanovska shared her experience, saying “It was a great experience working on a SEP project .In Auxilium company I worked with an amazing people who are super dedicated to what they do and believe that helping other is very important. I will continue to recommend SEP to my future peers!”
The SEP, is a joint initiative from JA Europe, Ferd and ArcelorMittal, which seeks to grow a generation of socially conscience entrepreneurs. Having started in 2011, the programme this year, with the encouragement of and guidance of business volunteers, engaged over 5,000 students to develop business ideas with a social impact.
“JA Europe’s Social Enterprise Programme gives young minds an excellent opportunity to expose their entrepreneurship potential to the outside world. Each year we see more innovative and sustainable ideas being presented to solve the challenges of tomorrow.”- Jury member, Raj Mandamparambil, Regional Manager Asia, CIS & Eastern Europe, ArcelorMittal
The European Final took place online, via a webinar and included the following jury members: Øyvind Sandvold (Business Development , Ferd), Raj Mandamparambil (Regional Manager Asia, CIS & Eastern Europe, ArcelorMittal), Emilian Pavel (Member of the European Parliament), Ghadeer Zalatimo (Senior Project Manager, INJAZ), and Apostolos Ioakimidis (Programme Manager - EU policies - Policy Manager, DG Grow, European Commission).
Ghadeer Zalatimo (Senior Project Manager, INJAZ) a jury member for the competition, shared “It is great to see youth be so entrepreneurial and taking interest in such programs; I am extra happy to have been part of this judging panel to see that the youth in MENA have similar ideas to their counterparts in Europe. Despite the distance, youth are more responsible, more educated, more aware of challenges surrounding them and thanks to programs like this, their ideas and passion are channeled into very creative and positive outcomes.“
By learning key entrepreneurial competences, the students are able to grow their creativity, teamwork skills and passion for business, while addressing a key social problem in their community and across the world. The products and services of this year’s mini-companies ranged from traffic safety plans for children to the therapeutic use of humour for community well-being to using innovative ways to increase healthy lifestyle.
Caroline Jenner, CEO for JA Europe, shared: “Social entrepreneurs are essential forces in providing solutions to local and global challenges. Young people are highly attracted to opportunities like the Social Enterprise Programme where they become ‘change-makers’. In just a short time they gain critical entrepreneurial competences and social understanding.”
Best Social Enterprise 2015
“Auxilium” - FYROM
“Smartfood UB” - Norway
“Watch Me” - Belgium
“Hive” - Malta
About JA Europe
JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.2 million students in 39 countries. JA Europe brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. The JA Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’.
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