Brussels, May 23: With youth unemployment figures reaching an alarming 20% in Europe, students have taken their future in their own hands today in Brussels at the Social Innovation Camp 2011, an event organised by Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe (JA-YE) and supported by Hewlett-Packard and General Electric. A hundred students from 14 European countries were challenged to come up with innovative projects resulting in a reduction of youth unemployment of 50%.
Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA-YE said: “The ingenuity of these students not only demonstrates the enormous potential of Europe’s youth, but it also shows that they are highly motivated when they are asked to work on real-world problems. JA-YE is working hard to ensure that Europe’s policy-makers and business leaders understand the impact such educational activities can have. .”
The participating students were divided into mixed-nationality teams, and had just 24 hours to develop solutions to a problem that is challenging governments and businesses every day – youth unemployment.
The winning team who called themselves “Social Achievers Corporation” have created a convention/fair which brings people from different kinds of cultures together to try out a new job. The group, made up of students from Belgium, Czech Republic, Norway, Portugal and Spain, was able to convince the jury of EU officials and business representatives that its idea was inventive and feasible for real world implementation.
Speaking at the Awards Ceremony Johan Deschuyffeleer, Senior VP and General Manager of HP Technology Services EMEA said: “What is happening here today is a perfect example of social innovation: business and education and government coming together to address one of the most important issues we are facing as a society: ensuring that young people have the best possible prospects when they finish school. We want these students to take with them the experience they had here today and we hope that everything they learned will inspire them to be social innovators at home.”
Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE Europe & North Asia and CEO GE Germany and Board Member of JA-YE Europe added: “Companies like GE depend on a constant supply of young innovative employees on the one hand and a growing number of new businesses in the economy on the other hand. Innovation in all industrial/professional sectors will be key to Europe’s recovery and growth”.
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PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT
Notes to Editors
JA-YE Europe (www.ja-ye.org) is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.1 million students in 38 countries in 2010. Funded by businesses, institutions, foundations and individuals, JA-YE 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-YE Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’. JA-YE Europe is the European headquarters for JA Worldwide.