FedEx Blog

FedEx Blog

Out of the Classroom and Into the Real Economic World

September 11, 2015

Recently, 202 students, 42 teachers, 23 jurors, 30 CEOs, 86 staff and 113 guests from all over Europe headed to the German capital of Berlin. Any idea what brought them together? Their goal was very ambitious: They wanted to be identified as the best student company in Europe at the annual “Junior Achievement Europe Company of the Year Competition.”

Before travelling to Berlin, the students previously worked over the course of a school-year in their home countries, all crowned with great success. Their tasks included running their own company, and creating and marketing real products and services. The students participated in different local and regional competitions and the winner of the national competition in each country was entitled to go to Berlin.

A high-level panel of international judges examined the contestants. Amongst others, they evaluated the students´ approach to teamwork, problem-solving, objective-setting, product development, customer focus, marketing and sales, as well as the mini-companies´ financial results.

Prof. Dr. Michael Hüther, Chair Judge of this year´s competition and Director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, explained the jury´s criteria: “What distinguishes entrepreneurs from people who have an idea? Entrepreneurs go out there and do it, and the entrepreneurial spirit to do so is something that the jury wanted to see.”

In order to narrow the gap between the classroom and real-world business, Junior Achievement is partnering with global businesses. FedEx, for example, has been a key global sponsor of the event since 2007. Each year, a “FedEx Access Award” is given to the student company that best demonstrates their understanding of global trade as well as the nature of today’s business world.

This year´s FedEx Access Award went to a company that developed new sustainable products with recycled automotive parts by turning buckle tongues into unique bottle openers and seat belts into fashionable bags. 24 students from the Northern part of Germany created Rauteck. The name is the German acronym for recycled auto parts Eckernförde; and the latter is the name of their hometown. During the past year, the young entrepreneurs have established a sucessful cooperation with local car disposal companies, as well as an internationally operating supplier of vehicle safety systems and further partners.

  • 37 teams from 36 countries participated in the 2015 Junior Achievement (JA) Europe Competition. Belgium, a country with various linguistic groups, sent two teams: one representing the Dutch-speaking community, the other representing the French-speaking population.

  • The students from the region of Wallis in Switzerland named their company Wallity. They created a three jar combination pack, consisting of ketchup, apricot jam and plum chutney, all made from local fruit. To give back something to the environment, they donated one Swiss Franc (= one USD) per sold combination pack to their local farmers´ union.

  • Mini-company Trashlock from Norway developed a Y-shaped belt, which prevents waste from falling out of trash bins if the lid has been blown open, or if the bin has been knocked over by strong winds.This is a problem that frequents their country, and it causes an unpleasant clean-up job, especially, if animals have been around the waste. In order to demonstrate the product in the best possible way, they even transported an original Norwegian trash bin to Berlin – almost 1,000 miles in their teacher´s car!

  • Although France is a neighboring country of Germany, the French team had a very long way to travel. The country was represented by young gentlemen from Martinique. The island in the Carribean is an oversea region of France – more than 4,700 miles away. With their company named Construction Express, the students designed and manufactured pathways, sidewalks and terraces for individuals, businesses and communities.

  • During a seminar held on the first day of the Berlin competition, the students learned about the meaning of Access, which helped in framing their entries for the FedEx Access Award.

  • To win the FedEx Access Award, students must show themselves to be driven by innovation, connected to new markets, fueling development, and offering visible commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

  • The FedEx jury, composed of team members from the US and Europe, examined all of the mini-companies carefully. They were impressed by the candidate’s strong attention to social impact, financial performance as well as the innovation of the young entrepreneurs.

  • “A lifesaver turns into a bottle opener”, titled the local newspaper Eckernförder Zeitung about Rauteck´s business concept.

  • At the end of November 2014, Rauteck presented their finished products in time for the holiday season - resulting in a first complete sellout! The production was intensified afterwards in order to satisfy the increasing demand.

  • When announcing the winners of the FedEx Access Award, Mirjana Kreclovic from FedEx Express Europe said: “We are extremely impressed with the high quality of the entries in this competition. We have seen remarkable creativity, innovation and determination. All the students involved in the competition are passionate entrepreneurs and we believe they have bright futures ahead of them.”

  • It was a huge success for Rauteck, student-company from Germany. Not only did they win the FedEx Access Award, but were additionally crowned winner of the overall JA Europe Company of the Year Competition.



    Diana Draganescu says:

    And what a pleasure it was to have FedEx present at the event! The students were very engaged in the FedEx Access Seminar and happy to have the opportunity to engage with FedEx representatives. Thank you for all your support!

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