JA Europe and EIT RawMaterials join forces to foster innovation-driven entrepreneurship in the raw materials sector

Brussels, 13 November 2018

The EU is committed to creating 10,000 new jobs in the European raw materials sector in the short term. JA Europe and EIT RawMaterials’ partnership blends entrepreneurship and STEM education to bring innovation focusing on raw materials into the classroom in Bulgaria and Romania.

A new innovative partnership between JA Europe and EIT RawMaterials seeks to equip 1200 young people aged 15-18 from Bulgaria and Romania with entrepreneurship and STEM skills, and spark their interest in the raw materials sector. The initiative combines STEM and entrepreneurship education through a blend of activities involving professional business volunteers as mentors motivating students to try new things and help them turn innovative ideas into real opportunities in this sector. Four national Innovation camps took place across the two countries in spring 2018, where students had to come up with solutions to challenges related to recycling natural resources and the raw materials circular economy. In the academic year 2018-2019, students will participate in a one-year entrepreneurship education programme, the JA Company Programme, and certify this entrepreneurial experience with the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass, an international qualification.

“EIT RawMaterials is very pleased to partner with Junior Achievement in order to build on our existing, successful schools work in raw materials awareness and enhance it with innovative entrepreneurial education.” Dr. Rima Dapous, Director of Education, EIT RawMaterials.

Industry is a high political priority of the current European Commission. As part of this plan, the Skills Agenda has been extended to new key industry sectors, such as construction, steel, paper, green technologies and renewable energies, manufacturing and maritime shipping. This initiative is part of the EU’s broader agenda to boost competitiveness and innovation capacity alongside economic growth and job creation. JA Europe shares the mission and vision of EIT RawMaterials to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe by enabling sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector along the value chain by driving  innovation, education and entrepreneurship.

Experts indicate that almost all of the thirty fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM1, therefore, this collaboration intends to raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship and STEM education among local and European policy makers throughout the Bulgarian Presidency in 2018 and Romanian Presidency in 2019.

“Tremendous opportunities lie in the space between STEM and entrepreneurship. JA Europe programmes are recognised as a European good practice to foster competences that are in highest demand. By exposing young people to the raw materials sector, JA Europe and EIT RawMaterials are contributing to innovation in the sector and job creation in the future.” Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe.


1. Harmon, H., & Wilborn, S. (2016). The Math Learning Gap: Preparing STEM Technicians for the New Rural Economy. The Rural Educator, 37(3).


JA Bulgaria


About JA Europe
JA Europe is the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide, which for 100 years has delivered hands on, experiential learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success.
Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached more than 4 million young people across 40 countries with the support of 140,000 business volunteers and 130,000 teachers/educators.

About EIT RawMaterials

EIT RawMaterials, initiated and funded by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), a body of the European Union, is the largest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. Its vision is to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe. Its mission is to enable sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector along the value chain by driving innovation, education and entreprenership.

EIT RawMaterials unites more than 120 partners from leading industries, universities and research & technology organisations from more than 20 EU countries. Partners of the EIT RawMaterials are active across the entire raw materials value chain; from exploration, mining and mineral processing to substitution, recycling and the circular economy. They collaborate on finding new, innovative solutions to secure supplies and strengthen the raw materials sector in Europe.

EIT RawMaterials will generate a significant impact on the European industrial competitiveness, innovation capacity and environmental and social sustainability by driving and fostering innovation and empowering students, entrepreneurs and education partners driving toward the circular economy. This will result in the introduction of innovative and sustainable products, processes and services, as well as talented people that will deliver increased economic, environmental and social sustainability to European society.

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