Authors: Oscar and Kristian Hellenes
You may know that FedEx supports Junior Achievement worldwide, but do you know what Junior Achievement means to us, the students and youth who participate in the event?
Let us give you a taste of what this Junior Achievement (JA-YE) adventure is like in Europe:
- 250,000 young achievers compete.
- participants gather from all over Europe: from Norway in the north to Greece in the south, Great Britain in the west to Russia in the East.
- From 250,000 competitors, only 180 student companies are invited to the final stage of competition representing Europe’s best and brightest future entrepreneurs.
- Today’s competitors are tomorrow’s business leaders.
As Masters of Ceremonies at this year’s event in Oslo Norway, our task was to make the contestants feel welcomed and appreciated. We prepared an opening sequence which featured a performance in which our trousers came off. So there we were: two Norwegian boys standing in their underwear in front of ministers, CEOs, board members, students and teachers from 64 nations around the world.
Let us tell you, that took some courage! And just imagine the face of a French CEO who suddenly found himself in front of two half naked blonde Vikings.
Beyond the dramatic excitement and showmanship, we’re confident all of the attendees appreciated the spirit of the JA-YE experience: the culture that arises when young entrepreneurs from all over the world get together, what we call the celebration of the “entrepreneurial spirit”. These up and coming youngsters really got off to a flying start and got a genuine taste of what real business is about.
Let us set the record straight: JA-YE is everything BUT a classroom. It is about having an idea and believing in it, then getting out there and working hard to make it happen.
And while all of the young entrepreneurs are different, they share one commonality; they took a risk and went for it.
For us, as former participants in the competition and as this year’s Masters of Ceremonies, we can assure that JA-YE is an incredible opportunity for participants to grow professionally and as individuals.
We know the quest of risk taking and exploration does not end here; in fact, we will be spending this year travelling the seven seas and five continents broadening our horizons, gaining a better understanding of the world and keeping a lookout for inspiring entrepreneurs and great business ideas!
And a bon voyage, we intend it to be!