Around 3 thousand 9 to 12 grade school students will be offered an opportunity to take part in the program and develop their business ideas by establishing student start-ups as soon as this fall. The program has received funding of 840 thousand euros and will be implemented by Junior Achievement Lithuania. The registration of participating schools has already started and will continue till May 7.
Over 3 thousand school students will take part in the JA Company Programme project this year, establishing 800 student start-ups. Around 450 new businesses are estimated to grow out of these student-run enterprises within the next ten years.
“It is important to start developing entrepreneurship competencies as early as possible to ensure that the future generations can both generate innovative ideas and implement them successfully. The JA Company Programme program will contribute to the development of practical entrepreneurship skills across entire Lithuania. This is the best investment into our economy, which will create many new possibilities for our people,” says Aušrinė Armonaitė, the Minister of Economy and Innovation.
Based on research results, the children who gain practical entrepreneurship experience at school tend to develop key competencies for becoming successful economists, CEOs, employees, teachers or scientists. Having graduated, they are more prone to take the risk and establish their own companies. As many as 15% of such students successfully start their own businesses.
“According to the data of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), young people with aspirations of their own business are often hindered by the lack of skills and experience. Developing entrepreneurship competencies both theoretically and practically is very important. With the help of the JA Company Programme program, entrepreneurship development will enter a completely new age. Students will be able to take the mettle of an entrepreneur and to try and develop a business from the ground up. Meanwhile, the teachers can acquire useful knowledge of how to establish and develop a business to be later passed on to other students,” says Inga Juozapavičienė, Manage of Entrepreneurship Department at Enterprise Lithuania.
Enterprise Lithuania and Junior Achievement Lithuania have been cooperating for several years in the promotion of entrepreneurship development among high school students.
“This is a significant stage of the many years of a great partnership between our nonprofit organization and the Government. By making use of the tried-and-true methods that we have tested over 25 years, we are developing a long-term systematic change and creating an entrepreneurial and competitive Lithuania. I believe that entrepreneurship can become a part of our everyday culture, where each and every one of us can trust oneself and be empowered to take action, no matter the profession or skills, be they entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers or athletes,” says Andželika Rusteikienė, Manager of Junior Achievement Lithuania.
All schools are welcome
All Lithuanian schools that have no practical entrepreneurship programs can join JA Company Programme by submitting their applications at https://lja.lt/events/praktinio-verslumo-ugdymo-programa/ by May 7. The program is forecasted to be implemented in more than 100 schools.
The curricula of participating schools will be reviewed to give recommendations on how to optimally integrate practical entrepreneurship development into general education programs. After summing up the results, a framework will be created for broader adaptation at other schools as well. Expert-level instructors with many years of experience under their belt will instruct and consult the school teachers and managers. The students will be able to take part in mentorship-based entrepreneurship and innovation camps, eXpo events and other activities developing teamwork, communication and entrepreneurship skills, and deepening their practical comprehension of economics and business.
“JA Company Programme program will employ innovative training methods to instill key entrepreneurship skills. According to research results, 3 out of 4 students would like to have their own business but 4 out of 5 students believe it to be a difficult endeavour and a challenge. Meanwhile, school is a perfect place for accepting a business challenge as it is a safe place to make mistakes. Not to mention that learning from own mistakes is most effective,” says I. Juozapavičienė.
The goal of the project is to ensure that the students establishing their start-ups have the same conditions and possibilities to receive funding and mentorship as any other Lithuanian start-ups.
“I have a dream that every child would graduate from school with practical entrepreneurship experience. After all, everything starts from school: this is the place where we start shaping our personalities, discover and understand ourselves, find our strengths and weaknesses. The only way to achieve this for our children is through experience and practice. The development of entrepreneurship is an awesome way to understand what you wish to do in your life. I am very glad we can help the children discover themselves,” says A. Rusteikienė.
More than just a business simulation
JA Company Programme offers 9 to 12-grade school students a real business running experience at school. By researching the market and testing their ideas, high school students go through the entire business management cycle: they establish a simulation enterprise, gather the initial capital, plan and analyze consumer needs, develop their own services or products to sell, organize their marketing campaigns and close their businesses down at the end of the project. The student start-ups are supervised by the teachers or mentors working at the school, with the assistance of an external volunteer mentor in entrepreneurship.
With its realistic representation and practical experience in running a business, JA Company Programme is more than just a simulation. Students learn how to create, develop and run a business, and have to make all key decisions themselves.
JA Company Programme is not a one-time project. It has been present in Lithuania since 2019. The program usually lasts from three months to one school year. It can be incorporated in formal education programs and take place during class, or it can be a part of non-formal education electives. All learning materials are available online throughout the entire duration of the program.
Translated by MP Translations Agency in Kaunas.
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