Belgian start-up SAANA wins AmCham EU Youth Entrepreneurship Award 2020

Brussels, 10 July 2020

The American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU) and Junior Achievement Europe (JA Europe) are delighted to announce that SAANA, a Belgian start-up, is the winner of the 8th AmCham EU Youth Entrepreneurship Award.

At a time when health systems across Europe are facing unprecedented challenges, SAANA was praised for its contribution to improve the quality of life of cancer patients by providing them with personalized recipes and nutritional guidance. By awarding the prize to SAANA, the international jury composed of Claude Alber, Vice-President Europe Collins Aerospace; Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Member of the European Parliament from Greece; Luciana Broggi, SVP and Global Head of Channel strategy and global accounts at HP Inc; Susan Danger, CEO of AmCHam EU; Mark Libby, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the EU; and Lou Rivieccio, President of UPS Europe, also wanted to send a signal to young people to get engaged in this crucial sector for the EU.

SAANA is a healthcare technology company built for cancer patients and survivors to support their fight. Based on patients’ conditions, smart technology, the latest science and expert recommendations, it strives to improve their quality of life and nutritional status.

The company was initiated by a JA alumna from Belgium, Stéphanie Roland, who at the age of 15 lost her mother to cancer. A strong optimist and a natural enthusiast that wants to use her energy to do good, Stéphanie reacted to her family tragedy by becoming interested in nutrition and changing her diet to mostly whole food plant based meals, hoping to redefine the outcomes of genetics by stripping our diseases of terrain that would promote them to grow.

"When I participated in the Junior Achievement programme when I was young, I did not truly notice that I was creating a little company which was actually shaping my mindset and made me believe that becoming an entrepreneur was possible. We need to push this further in young people in Belgium and other countries so that we change the mentality around entrepreneurship", said Stéphanie Roland, CEO and Founder of SAANA.

After having launched two companies and with a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in hand, Stéphanie now wants to dedicate herself to the prevention and relief of chronic diseases such as cancer by using her scientific background, expert knowledge and technology, combining them into the first holistic algorithm ever envisioned.

The AmCham EU Youth Entrepreneurship Award, organized in collaboration with JA Europe, aims to encourage and support the entrepreneurial mindsets of young Europeans. The winner received a cash prize of € 10,000 and will be offered several hours of mentorship over a 12-month period from a number of senior executives from AmCham EU’s member companies who will offer their time, expertise and advice. The other four finalists included Adventures with Amara from the United Kingdom, Canaree from Denmark, Celuna (TimeNinja) from Malta, and WakiVaky from Slovakia.

Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe, shared that "JA Europe is proud of its Alumni who use their talent and creativity to solve real-life problems. Resilience is a skill that can be nurtured at an early age in school in order to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship".


About AmCham EU

The American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU) speaks for American companies committed to Europe on trade, investment and competitiveness issues. It aims to ensure a growth-orientated business and investment climate in Europe. AmCham EU facilitates the resolution of transatlantic issues that impact business and plays a role in creating better understanding of EU and U.S. positions on business matters. Aggregate U.S. investment in Europe totalled more than €3 trillion in 2019, directly supports more than 4.8 million jobs in Europe, and generates billions of euros annually in income, trade and research and development. 

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.

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