Zurich Central Station Buzzing with Student Entrepreneurs

The Annual JA-YE Europe Trade Fair in Zurich, Switzerland!


450 secondary school students from across Europe used their skills to compete for customers at the JA-YE Europe Trade Fair. The Zurich Central Station hosted this one of a kind display of student ingenuity, creativity, entrepreneurship and business skills.

Students took just a few hours to turn the main terminal into an international marketplace. They came from 33 European countries representing a total of 90 student companies. Products ranged from services such as web design and personalised i-Phone covers to products such as ergonomic furniture and an array of food and drinks.

Best Overall Company
The top accolades went to team Nailcup of Switzerland for redesigning and marketing nail polish remover. Student captured the Best Overall Company Award for creating this light weight, stylishly designed, easy to use product. 

Team Nailcup - winner of the Best Overall Company Award

(Team Nailcup - Winner of the Best Overall Company at the 2012 JA-YE Europe Trade Fair)

Second Place went to British team Fortis from London who created a phone case that doubles as an Oyster card holder. Another Swiss team also impressed the judges capturing 3rd place with their urban sea bag for young people made from remnants of recycled window blinds..

“Every year I am impressed by the motivation, creativity and true passion of the students.  The essence of what they are learning is about building a business and creating jobs. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is about working really hard and having a vision of what you want to achieve. These young people now know what that feels like,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA-YE Europe.

Young Change-makers

The JA-YE Europe Trade Fair is an annual event linked with the JA-YE Company Programme. Recognised by the European Commission as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’, the programme teaches students how to take a business idea from concept to reality. They form their own real enterprises and discover first-hand how a company functions. They elect a board of directors from amongst their peers, raise share capital, and market and finance a product or service of their choice. Throughout the programme they are mentored by business volunteers.

Through learning-by-doing, students develop new skills such as teamwork, leadership, presenting, planning and financial control as they learn to take responsibility for the success of their company. At the core of the programme is the awakening of young entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen under the mentorship of business leaders in their communities.

Alumni of this programme are 4-5 times more likely to start a business later on than their peers. Their start-ups have a better survival rate too. For those that enter the workforce they are on average more employable, earn higher incomes and are more satisfied in their careers.

Success Stories

Best Stand Award
One Body Ergonomics (Denmark) – A refined ergonomic office chair that prevents back, neck shoulder or mouse-related injuries and pain.

Most Innovative Product
Sport and Health Innovation (the Netherlands) – A table tennis ball dispenser that can be placed on the side or end of the table and can store up to 40 balls.

Best Marketing and Sales
Søvni (Norway) – Sheet and pillow case set inspired by the nature of Norway. Part of their turn over is distributed to their foundation that helps people receive treatment for a range of serious health and social problems.

Accenture Enterprise without Borders Collaboration Award
Expand-it (Portugal) – A portable dispenser that allows you to take your favourite toppings and spreads with you. The team won for their collaboration with student companies from Norway and Sweden and their planned exchange with students from Ghana.

UBS Responsible Business Award
S.T.E.F.I JA (Italy) – Developed a prototype for regulating indoor temperature using electronic photovoltaic controlled air solar panels.

KPMG Client Service Award
appletime (Switzerland) – Sells a range of apple jams using seasonal ingredients and offering the option of client branded jars.